Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Frosting

I just completed my four week photography class at the University of Texas- they offer affordable "informal classes" to the general public. It was really a fun class and I learned a ton! Hopefully you see some improvement in my photos (albeit slowly). I really just loved learning more about my camera and hanging out with other wannabe photographers!

The first night of class we went around and introduced ourselves and talked about what things we like to photograph. Of course, I mentioned that I have a food blog and like to take photos of food! Our instructor asked for me to bring a treat for class and of course, I can never pass up a willing audience!

Since my class was around 30 people and I prefer to only make one batch of things I turned to my "bars" board on pinterest. Whenever I need a dessert for a large group, I love things I can make in a half size sheet pan (11 x 17) because it only takes one batch and it always gets the job done! I get my sheet pans at Sam's Club and there are 2 for only $11.This recipe was perfect! It is interesting with sweet and salty flavors but still comforting with its chocolate and peanut butter flavors. (In fact, the original writer called these "Lunch lady bars" because apparently lots of people grew up getting these in schools.)

These bars have 3 parts but while the cookie layer is baking, you can whip the peanut butter and make the frosting. And believe me, every layer of this recipe counts! The soft cookie, the creamy peanut butter and the sweet chocolate frosting. I'm sure your friends and family will devour these as fast as my class (and my husband) did!



 


Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Frosting
recipe slightly adapted from Tried and True Again

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup butter
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar (packed)
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (split)
2 eggs
1 ½ cups quick oats

Frosting:
½ C butter (1 stick)
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugars, 3/4 C peanut butter, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add dry ingredients, just until incorporated. Then, stir in the oats. Spread onto a greased 11 x 15 half sheet pan. (I greased my pan and found that my bars were greasy on the bottom but did come out of the pan so if anyone doesn't grease teh pan and can get them out, let me know!) I always err on the side of caution and grease the pan, but there should be enough oil in the butter and penaut butter to keep it from sticking.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown (they will appear under done but will harden once cooled). Cool for 10 minutes.

The frosting is a two step process. First, whip the remaining ¾ cup peanut butter until it becomes lighter colored and fluffy (of course I forgot to take a picture of this step). This will make the peanut butter lighter and easier to spread, more like a peanut butter frosting. Carefully spread the whipped peanut butter over the pan cookie.

Then, in a small sauce pan melt the butter over low heat. Add the milk and cocoa and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Heat just until boiling. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Then, gradually add the powdered sugar. Stir until thickened. Pour over the peanut butter and gently spread over the cookie. Cool completely, and slice into bar cookies.

Enjoy with a big glass of milk!

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