Friday, May 23, 2014

Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars

You know those foods that just take you back to childhood?  I'm talking Otter Pops, Mac 'n Cheese, Koolaid, and the old PB&J?!  These bars fit right into that category for me.  I was always so excited when these babies were on the menu at school.  So good!

My hubby does have a rule when it comes to these...they must have a layer of crunchy PB between the bar and chocolate layers.  I highly recommend it!  Here is one other version of these bars from my Mother-in-Law that are always a fav!

Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars

Cookie Base
1 cup real butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1  1/2 cups peanut butter, chunky or smooth
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons table salt
3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups quick oats
optional: an extra 3/4 cup peanut butter, see notes in recipe below

Fudge Frosting
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a rimmed cookie sheet (standard half-sheet pan) lightly with non-stick spray and set aside.

Cream butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add  peanut butter and vanilla and beat until combined.  Add eggs, one at a time and beat between each addition. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt and add mixture to dough.  Beat to combine.  Add oats and mix until incorporated.  Press dough into prepared pan into a flat layer.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes, but up to 15-20.  I’ve noticed that baking time can greatly differ depending on elevation, product brands (especially the peanut butter) etc.  The center should be puffed and set, but still soft.  The one thing you don’t want to do is overbake them.  So just keep an eye on them.

While crust is baking, prepare frosting.  Whisk together powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  Add butter (make sure it’s soft!), boiling water, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth and glossy.

When cookie crust is done baking, if desired drizzle about 3/4 cups melted (just nuke it in the microwave) peanut butter on top and then spread on frosting.  Let cool (or leave slightly warm) and cut into squares to serve.  If also desired (and what’s not to be desired here?) serve with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge.  

Recipe Source:  Our Best Bites

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