Friday, September 28, 2012

PEANUT BUTTER CREAM BARS

I've been making these bars since my kids were little; now I make them for my grandchildren. I think that is the mark of a great recipe, don't you? 

This cookie bar has a creamy (peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk) layer between two chewy oatmeal cookie layers. As if that wasn't enough, the finished bars are drizzled with a peanut butter frosting glaze. They are SO GOOD and they make a great bake sale item.

 
 2 cups raw quick oats
1¾ cups brown sugar
1½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter
2 cups chocolate chips (or 1 cup mini chocolate chips)
1 beaten egg
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and then cut in the butter (like you would for a pie crust). I do this step with an electric mixer, but don't do it with a food processor because it will chop the oatmeal to finely.

Remove 1¾ cups of these crumbs and put them in a small bowl with the chocolate chips and set it aside.

Mix the beaten egg into the remaining crumb mixture (not the part with the chocolate chips) and mix well. Press this mixture into a greased (I use parchment paper instead of grease) 10" x 15" x 2" baking pan and bake in preheated  350 oven for 15 minutes.

While the base is in the oven, whisk the sweetened condensed milk together with the creamy peanut butter and set aside.

When the partially baked crust comes out of the oven, drizzle the milk-peanut butter mixture evenly over the crust. Sprinkle evenly with the reserved crumb-chocolate chip mixture and bake, at 350, for another 15 minutes.

Drizzle the baked bars with peanut butter frosting while they are still warm. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares.

 

NOTE: For ease of cutting, I line the pan with parchment paper and leave the sides a little long, so I can grab the COOLED bars and lift them out of the pan for slicing.

PEANUT BUTTER GLAZE
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter soft
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk

Now keep in mind, I NEVER, and I mean NEVER measure ingredients for a cake glaze, so I'm hoping these amounts work for you.  Heat the peanut butter and butter in the microwave until it is nice and soft.  Add the vanilla, milk and sugar and whisk till smooth.  If it seems a little dry, just add another tablespoon or so of milk. If it seems too soupy, add a tablespoon or so more powdered sugar.  When the glaze is nice and smooth, drizzle it over the warm bars.