Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bars just may become my new favorite. It is interesting, that with all the cookie recipes I have seen, I had not come across this one before. It is from a little cookbook called Favorite Bars and Cookies-50 All Time Best Recipes from Better Homes and Gardens published in 2002.
These delicious bars have an oatmeal toffee crust, some of which is saved for the topping, a peanut butter/condensed milk filling, and a topping of the reserved crust ingredients and chocolate chips. Chopped peanuts were included in the original recipe. Since I am having a challenge eating nuts right now, I left them out. I used milk chocolate chips in the topping, but semi-sweet or peanut butter chips would be great, too.
Because my hands don’t work the way they used to, I make the crust in my Kitchen Aid Mixer using the whipping attachment. I put all the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl and combine them well. I slice the butter into thin slices and add them a little bit at a time while the mixer is running on low, letting the mixer run until that butter is well blended. The dough will be clumpy, not crumbly.
The bars are baked in a 10x15-inch pan, so the recipe makes a lot. The cookbook says the recipe makes 48 bars, but they are very rich so I cut mine a bit smaller and got 60 bars
If you are a chocolate/peanut lover, give these a try. I think you will like them.
2 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
1 3/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour (or use all-purpose flour)
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 c. butter
1 egg, beaten
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (or make your own)
1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
1 (11-12 oz.) pkg. milk chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips or peanut butter chips
1/2 c. chopped peanuts (optional)
Combine oats, brown sugar, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a large mixer bowl. Place bowl on mixer and mix well on low speed. While mixer is still running, slice butter into thin slices and carefully add to mixer bowl a few at a time. Mix until butter is well blended and the mixture is clumpy. You may also use a pastry blender to mix ingredients. Remove 1 3/4 cups of mixture and place in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside. Add egg to remaining mixture in large bowl. Mix well. Press into a foil-lined 10x15-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Meanwhile, combine sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until smooth. Remove crust from oven. Pour peanut butter mixture over the hot crust, carefully spreading evenly. Add chocolate chips and peanuts (if using) to reserved crust mixture. Sprinkle over peanut butter mixture. Return to oven and bake an additional 12 to 15 minutes, until edges or lightly browned. Don’t overbake or crust will become hard. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Cut into bars while still slightly warm. Makes 48 to 60 bars. Store tightly covered in a zip-top bag.