Wednesday, September 26, 2012
No Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
I was having one of those days when I needed to bake something. My stirring hand was getting itchy and I was feeling a little chocolate deprived. But what to do? Bars would be quicker than cookies, but with my oven still acting up, I really didn't want to play the "is it done yet but not burnt game" that I've been dealing with. Enter these no-bake treats full of flavor--peanut butter, chocolate chips, and oatmeal goodness. Yes, these would do just fine. I ended up leaving just a few at home for Dave and I to enjoy and then took the rest to work. One of my coworkers immediately said (I barely think he swallowed his first bite), "Wow. Yeah. I could totally eat nothing but those for 40 days and 40 nights." While I'm not sure that's the best sustenance, these bars really are that good.
The thing with no-bake bars is that you really need to cook the sugar mixture the right way--under-boil it and the bars will be soft; over-boil and you'll have a dry, crumbly mess. I've read a couple other bloggers and their tactics for the perfect no-bake treats and tried to incorporate all my learning when I tried this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. Michelle always does her homework too, so I knew if I was careful and paid attention, I've have no-bake success as well. There's nothing inherently difficult about no-bakes, but you do need to focus on what your doing for 15 minutes and probably set a timer. It also helps to have everything premeasured and ready for every step in the process. I followed Michelle's recipe, but below I've included my own notes to more specifically guide the process. And in the end, after a very brief stint in the kitchen without turning on the oven, I had delicious, chewy bars to satisfy my cravings.
No-Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
3 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
Line an 8 or 9 inch square pan or 9 x 13 pan (for thinner bars) with parchment. In a large mixing bowl, stir together oats and 1 cup chocolate chips. Then add vanilla and peanut butter.
Note: To work peanut butter into oat/chip mixture, rotate the bowl as you gather the oats into the peanut butter. Since the peanut butter isn't very viscous (yup--big science word from my husband), the oats and chips need to be convinced to let the peanut butter make up a "batter."
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter and salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the butter is melted. Bring to a boil, with white and foamy bubbles over the entire surface, and boil for 2 minutes. (Note: Set your timer!)
Immediately and carefully, pour the hot mixture over the oatmeal mixture and stir, working quickly, to combine. Make sure all of the oatmeal mixture is moistened with the hot mixture.
Turn mixture into the parchment-lined pan and press into an even layer with a spatula. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top and press in gently to stick.
Allow bars to cool and set at a room temperature for about 30 minutes. Use parchment to lift out of pan and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a week (Ha! Like they'll last that long!)
Makes 24 bars in a 9 x 13 pan; 16 in a square pan.
The Cookie Princess
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