CHEW THIS! Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, December 9th 2018 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Like a granola bar, only better…
Blaise Doubman

I love a good granola bar! They are the perfect on the go snack and can taste pretty good for something that is supposed to be so healthy! I do have to say that some of my favorite granola bars are the ones dipped in dark chocolate, but dark chocolate is supposed to be good for us in moderation, right? I have tried several recipes for homemade granola bars and they always end up being too hard or too sticky. When developing this recipe, it started out to be something totally and underly different. It started out being a bar that contained raisins, cranberries and banana chips. It ended up being more of a dessert bar, more of a luxury than a necessity. Ha! I did leave the oatmeal but skipped out on the additional mix-ins. Instead I decided I would make a bar that was filled with something. Chocolate? No, even better, peanut butter!

The peanut butter filling in these bars really make the dessert what it is! The chocolate chips sprinkled along top really make a difference too because they add that extra punch to help you get through the thick and rich filling. I find that quick cooking oats work better than the old-fashioned variety because they soften up more and provide less chew. So, let us recap here a moment. These bars contain oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate which are all basically health foods, right? Now, the butter and the sweetened condensed milk may be a stretch in some health-conscious circles but everything in moderation, including moderation, right? Make these on a Sunday evening and snack on them throughout the week! They are delicious!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

These are best made ahead, wrapped and chilled in the refrigerator. Feel free to substitute the semi-sweet chocolate chips for milk, dark or white chips. Smooth peanut butter works best here over crunchy.

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups quick cooking oats
½ cup smooth peanut butter
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the melted butter, packed light brown sugar, pure vanilla extract, baking soda and salt until smooth and combined. Beat in the white all-purpose flour and quick cooking oats. Mixture needs to be combined thoroughly.

Reserve 1 ½ cups of the mixture and place into a separate bowl. Add semi-sweet chocolate chips to the mixture and stir until combined well.

Press in the remaining mixture into the prepared pan and smooth out evenly with clean hands. Bake in preheated oven 12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl combine the smooth peanut butter and the sweetened condensed milk. Pour this evenly over the baked base. Do this step easy and carefully with a gentle hand.

Take the remaining mix containing the semi-sweet chocolate chips and sprinkle evenly over the top. Place back into preheated oven and bake 30 minutes more. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Wrap with aluminum foil and place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve remove from the refrigerator and cut into squares. Remove and serve.

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The Best Chicken Salad

This is the best chicken salad! Perfect on buttery croissants. I like a rotisserie chicken for this but also try roasting 2 large chicken breasts, with the bone in and the skin on, in the oven at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. Before baking drizzle each with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

The Best Chicken Salad

3 cups cooked chopped chicken
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup white grapes, halved
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup diced celery

In a large bowl place the prepared chicken.

In a medium bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, fresh lemon juice, salt and black pepper until combined and smooth.

Add the prepared grapes, chopped pecans and diced celery to the prepared chicken and stir gently.

Pour over the dressing and stir gently. Taste for seasonings. Refrigerate. Serve.

Creamy Peanut Butter Fudge

A CREAMY version of my favorite peanut butter fudge. This is beyond amazing!

Creamy Peanut Butter Fudge

4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup smooth peanut butter

Line a 8×8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl place the confectioner’s sugar, milk and butter. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove and beat well. Microwave on high an additional 30 seconds.

Beat in smooth peanut butter.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth out the top. Allow to sit for about 2 hours before cutting and enjoying.

Easiest Peanut Butter Fudge Ever

Simply the easiest peanut butter fudge ever! Only two ingredients. Try this!

Easiest Peanut Butter Fudge Ever

1 pound white almond bark
1 cup smooth peanut butter

Start by greasing an 8-inch square baking pan.

In a large microwave safe bowl melt the white almond bark. Stir until smooth and creamy. Be watchful that it does not burn.

Remove and stir in smooth peanut butter.

Pour into prepared baking pan.

Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove, cut and serve.

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are my favorite chocolate chip cookies! Super thin and extra crispy. Fabulous!

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, soft
1 1/4 cups white granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line several large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl cream together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar and packed light brown sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. If using a stand mixture this should take about 4 minutes.

Add in the large eggs, water and pure vanilla extract and beat well before adding in the salt and baking soda. Blend well.

Fold in the white all-purpose flour followed by the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoon size amounts of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart, and bake, one sheet at a time, for 20 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool slightly before enjoying.