CHEW THIS! Lunch Lady No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars

CHEW THIS!

Lunch Lady No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars

lunch-lady-no-bake-peanut-butter-bars.jpg

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, August 19th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Lunch Lady No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars
Blaise Doubman

Awhile back I shared a recipe here with everyone for “Lunch Lady Brownies” and they are still one of my most popular recipes! One of the secrets to the recipe is frosting the brownies while they are still warm. I seem to make them at least once a week and they disappear just about as fast as I can cut them! I was inspired by that recipe in creating this one. It really seems that old-fashioned “high school” foods are making and holding a comeback of sorts. Who could forget the high school pizza burger or their chocolate no-bake cookies? Things change, as does food requirements and tastes, and before we know it our favorite school foods are just a memory. Memories are some of the best go-to features when developing, or craving, a recipe.

I remember these peanut butter bars from Knightstown High School. It seemed that everyone in the school craved them and there never seemed to be enough. They were cut into squares and wrapped in waxed paper. I will not discuss here how many I would eat at a time, which leads me to wonder if maybe I was the one eating and keeping them all from everyone!? Ha! Anyways, I had such fun developing this recipe! Imagine my surprise when I found out the original recipe for these were for a baked bar, until one of the lunch ladies developed this very recipe and turned them into “no-bake” peanut butter bars, thus saving loads of time! I hope you will make up a batch of these with me and share some of your favorite school food memories. This recipe is best made ahead so the bars can sit and chill properly.

Lunch Lady No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars

These bars are best kept and served chilled but can also be kept and served at cool room temperature. For a white chocolate version replace the 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips with 2 cups of white chocolate chips.

1 stick unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups smooth peanut butter
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening

Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Place the stick of unsalted butter, packed light brown sugar, pure vanilla extract, smooth peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Remove and stir until the mixture forms a smooth ball.

Dump the dough into the prepared pan and pat out the dough so it is smooth and even. The best tool to use for this is clean, slightly damp, hands.

Place the semi-sweet chocolate chips and solid vegetable shortening in a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Remove and stir until smooth and glossy.

Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the peanut butter base and spread evenly.

Wrap pan in aluminum foil and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Once chilled, lift the bars out of the pan using the aluminum foil. Cut and serve.

Ask and Answer: Lately I have been getting messages about how to make your own self-rising flour. To make your own simply combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt. I try to use general white all-purpose flour in all of my recipes for simplicity and ease. I find that different brands of self-rising flour contain various amounts of baking powder and salt. When baking with all-purpose flour the results are steady.

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