Pretzel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars.

That title is a mouthful

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of delicious.

Sometimes, I expect myself to give lengthy, eloquent blog posts. Here’s a story, let’s have a laugh or poignant moment, now let me tie it into a baked good and tell you why you should bake and then consume it.

By “sometimes”, I mean “usually.” And by “usually,” I mean “always.”

I’ve never been very succinct.

I’m giving myself a break, a mental break. I know that if you’ve stumbled down the page this far, you’ll probably like the recipe. These bars are dense, thick, satisfying, comforting. Let them be a rainy-day treat, enjoyed with a cup of tea by an open window, or a sweet square to slow down your crazy mornings.

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Pretzel Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
Makes an 8×8 pan

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup mini pretzels

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the brown sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla.
  3. Mix in flour, oats, salt, and baking soda. As the dough begins to come together, slowly add the milk and mix until the dough forms.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Press into the prepared baking dish. Arrange the pretzels on top of the dough, pressing in lightly. Bake for about 17-20 minutes, until edges are brown. Cool completely and cut into squares. Devour.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, revisited.

[PSA: Wordless Wednesdays has moved to currently unnamed Friday in honor of this recipe.]

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Hi, my name is Cakey, and I’m perpetually five years old.

I like to make messes. I like to play with the bubbles in the sink when I wash dishes. This weekend, I bought two coloring books. Last week, I ordered chicken strips for dinner with friends. When I was at a boy’s house, he asked what I wanted to drink – of course, I asked for a juice box. Part of me still wants to scream when I sit down in the dentist’s chair. A very large part of me.

Eventually, adult mode kicks in – flour is swept up, Anna Karenina is opened & read, and yes, please, I would like a side salad.

Oh, and packing for school happens.

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It’s that time of year again, when all my friends leave for college, leaving a week between me having friends and me heading back to campus. Thus, separation anxiety sets in, sadness ensues, and my oven mysteriously turns on.

I went back to the start to revisit one of my very first recipes. Kathryn & I baked it with the idea of sending some of it to a boy. Strangely enough, I baked it again this time with the same intention, for the same boy who is once again going to be six hours away from me for a few months. C’est la vie.

At least this time he’s fully aware of the intention behind the banana bread. I’m twice as alluring when I’m holding a freshly baked loaf of one of his favorite foods.

Feminine wiles, indeed.

Enough of the romance mush. Allow me to turn your attention to banana mush instead.

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I made a few more tweaks from the recipe I originally adapted from the great Joy the Baker, although very few. There seem to be varying opinions on the addition of vanilla extract to banana bread – this time, I added it to deepen the sweetness of the bananas. Self-control is null and void when it comes to vanilla.

Happy accident! My four pound Nestle chocolate chip bag (finally) ran out, leaving me with no choice but to chop up some dark chocolate sitting in my fridge. Chopped chocolate is, to me, more aesthetically pleasing than

This has become an all-butter/no oil recipe. A lot of bakers like using oil in breads and muffins to keep them moist (hold up, I hate that word with a passion. Unfortunately, it’s the only one that conveys what I’m trying to say), but then you miss out on the flavor the butter gives.

Finally, I added a crumble. Banana bread covered in sugar, oatmeal, and walnuts makes it a little more special.

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It’s as spectacular as it was before, only better. Do I contradict myself? (Very well, then I contradict myself.) This is probably the best banana bread you’ll ever eat – the perfect balance of sweet banana, smooth peanut butter, and just enough chocolate to round it out.

I’m still five years old when I make this bread, considering I had to taste-test it. Several times. This might’ve fueled my recent child-like spontaneity.

Embrace your inner child.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (printable recipe here)
makes 1 loaf pan (can use a cake pan or muffin tin)
originally from Joy the Baker
adapted from yours truly

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 4 medium) mashed oh-so-very ripe* bananas
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Optional oat-nut topping

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a loaf pan; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combing flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, and melted butter.
  4. Beat in eggs, then sugars, until mixture is smooth.
  5. Barely fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until the mixture is mostly combined but a few flour streaks still remain. Fold in chocolate and nuts.
  6. If desired, in a small bowl, combine brown sugar, walnuts, and oats for oat-nut topping. Set aside.
  7. Pour batter into prepared baking pan; sprinkle with oat-nut topping or brown sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes. Invert loaf onto a wire rack to cool completely. Devour.

*NOTE: If your bananas aren’t yet ripe but you’re craving banana bread anyways, place them (skins still ON) on a baking sheet and stick them in a 350 degree F oven for about 35 minutes. The peels will turn black, but the inside will be ripe and sweet (and very easy to mash). Proceed with recipe.

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Black banana peels, mmmmm.

 

Related articles

Hey, you! Yes, you! What do you think of my tweaks – unnecessary or delicious? Do you have a favorite banana bread recipe or add-in of your own?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

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My blog felt a little empty without the combination of peanut butter + chocolate chip. Thankfully, these bars have remedied that.

I’d wager that the best things in life are the simplest, like feeling cool grass beneath your toes, having a guy hold the door open for you, sitting in silence with the people you love, waking up to the sound of rain. And strangely enough, the things that are worth it are the most difficult, the most heartwrenching, the most frustrating.

Lucky for us, these bars are both simple and worth it. Why? Here’s a list.

  • chocolate
  • peanut butter
  • one bowl
  • one bowl
  • peanut butter
  • one bowl
  • chocolate
  • one bowl
  • peanut butter + chocolate

And here’s a picture, too.

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Observe the texture. Observe the chocolate chips. Observe the lovely aroma. (Whoops, you can’t do that, can you?)

The peanut butter and chocolate combination sold me right off the bat. No star-crossed food-lovin’ here – peanut butter and chocolate were clearly made for each other. Food soul mates. Then I saw the tablespoon of vanilla extract and very nearly swooned. Vanilla makes me weak-kneed.

Speaking of weak knees, I’ll be honest: initially, these were made for a boy (what I lack in charm I make up with baked goods) BUT, most unfortunately, my plans were foiled when my parents informed me that, instead, we’d be taking them to my cousin’s birthday party. “What? No, of course I didn’t have plans for these, I was just…baking stuff. Because I actually have time to. All right, we can take them to the party…”

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Regardless of how my plans were thwarted, these did not disappoint. After 22 minutes of baking, the toothpick came out clean, and although I freaked out a little because I still thought they were underbaked, they weren’t. The edges puffed up while the middle remained miraculously soft and gooey. Peanut buttery, chocolate chippy, buttery, deliciousy.

Have I mentioned they’re made in one bowl? All the goodness of cookies without the fuss. Perfect if you’re lazy (like me) or in a hurry (like most of humanity). Not too much chocolate (let’s be honest, is that ever possible?), just enough peanut butter (although adding another tablespoon or two wouldn’t hurt too much), and more than enough sweetness. And CRAZY GOOD.

Clearly my cousins thought so, considering all of them were gone within an hour.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (printable recipe here!)
from Averie Cooks

[Note: Honestly, I laughed out loud when I saw you could scramble the egg if you mix it in while the butter is still too hot. But apparently it can really happen – make sure the butter is cooled!
Baking time will also depend on how gooey you want your center. I’d wager they could be baked up to 30 minutes if you want a more-set center. Just keep an eye on them.]

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • heaping 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 6 – 7 ounces (about 3/4 cup) semi-sweet or dark chocolate (chips or chopped)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter (about 2 30-second intervals). Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool before adding the egg (to prevent it from scrambling).
  3. Stir in egg, sugars, and vanilla extract until well combined. Stir in peanut butter.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt; mix until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate.
  5. Scoop batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until center is set and golden (or toothpick inserted into center comes out clean).
  6. Allow bars to cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes. Cut into slices and devour.

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Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

Hello. It’s been far too long. Life is so crazy. Can you ever forgive me?

Here, I brought you some incredibly delicious banana bread to make it better.

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Or banana mush. Or banana muffins. Or banana cookies.

Or whatever form fits your fancy.

I must first add a brief disclaimer: the oatmeal must first be ground in some sort of food-processing device before adding the rest of the ingredients. If your kitchen just happens to be lacking in a food processor, place the oatmeal in a large plastic bag and use a meat mallet (or some other utensil to that effect) to grind it up to a meal-like consistency.

Second disclaimer: your batter may not make it into the pan. Really, there would have been more of the final product had I possessed enough self-control to keep my fingers out of the mixing bowl.

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Whoops.

However, there is no worry of potential acquisition of salmonella; this is an eggless recipe! Which means no stray eggshells will end up in your bread (also, I originally typed “beard” instead of “bread”. Probably a sign I should drink something caffeinated).

How many times have I already raved about peanut butter? Or peanut butter and chocolate? Or peanut butter and banana? Or…peanut butter? Probably enough for you to remember that I really, really love peanut butter.

And this recipe combines many of my favorite things: bananas, chocolate, peanut butter, and oatmeal. Oatmeal is one of my favorite baking ingredients; not only does it add a beautifully chewy texture and substance, but it also adds a distinct, nutty flavor. Oats are intrinsically satisfying.

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Aren’t they cute?

Despite the simple ingredients, the taste is sublime. With nothing added in excess, the flavors are complementary: just enough brown sugar to subtly emphasize the cinnamon, enough peanut butter to notice but not overpower, and a perfect amount of oats to lend their chewiness but not dominate.

Why can’t people work together so harmoniously like that?

No matter. Maybe this bread will bring about world peace.

The active time of this recipe is not consuming. After you have measured out the oats and blended them, simply add the rest of the ingredients, mix, and bake. Or, if you prefer, omit the baking powder and simply eat the batter straight. Yes, it’s that good.

If you prefer muffins, mini or standard or enormous, or a cake-pan sized loaf, or some other manifestation, I’m sure those will work just as well. Just be aware of the potential time adjustment.

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Oh, and feel free to add more chocolate chips.

Easy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (Egg-free!…and with no-bake option!)
Slightly adapted from Baker Bettie
Makes 1 loaf pan or about 6 mini loaves Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups oatmeal (old-fashioned)
  • 3-4 medium mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the loaf pan(s) and set aside.
  2. Measure oatmeal into blender or food processor and pulse until powder or meal consistency, or little less fine if desired.
  3. Combine oatmeal and remaining ingredients, except for chocolate chips, to a mixing bowl. Stir until combined.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into prepare pan(s). Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges are browned and toothpick in center comes out clean. Devour.

No-bake option: Omit the baking powder and add up to an extra cup of oatmeal (not ground). Spoon mixture onto yogurt/etc., or eat straight from the bowl.

Super Easy Peanut Butter Cookies.

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I adore peanut butter.

I mean, really. What other source of protein would I find if not for peanut butter? How pathetically boring would my life be if I was only left to spread butter on my toast? Bananas would seem sad and lonely. Life would be grey and dank. If I ever developed a peanut allergy, I would cry. Then I’d suck it up and risk death by choosing to eat peanut butter by the spoonful anyway. And if I ever end up in the hospital, peanut allergy-free, I’ll ask for peanut butter in my IV.

My world would stop turning without peanut butter.

Peanut butter > gravity

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And if you’re a peanut butter freak (or, if you prefer another noun, maniac, fiend, enthusiast, admirer…), you will love these cookies.

Once upon a time, there were three lazy college students who were tired of studying and craving baked goods. Particularly, something not requiring flour or much effort. And, voila: enter the flour-free peanut butter cookies.

Four ingredients. Well, five if you use two different kinds of sugars. And ONE BOWL, none of that “mix & set aside” nonsense. Mix a little, stir a little more, roll, bake, and BAM. Peanut butter goodness. Ridiculous peanut butter goodness.

The peanut butter flavor is so pronounced because of the lack of flour. Less flour, more peanut butter? If that doesn’t scream “health food” to you,  I don’t know what will.

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Oh hey there, beautiful. Peanut butter perfection at its finest.

Have I mentioned these are easy? And beautiful?

Especially warm from the oven.

They’re adaptable, too. I like brown sugar in peanut butter cookies because the softness of the brown sugar seems to better complement the peanut butter – at least, my taste buds think so. Next batch, I want to cut down on the sugar to bring out the peanut butter flavor any more – but, if you’re like my friend Kat, you can add more sugar if you prefer a little more sweetness. You can add chocolate chips, different extracts, cocoa, sea salt on top, nuts, even Nutella…

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I’m not kidding when I say these were all gone in about 15 minutes.

What are you waiting for? If you’re on the Internet, you definitely have 20 minutes to spare so you can make these. Get to it.

Flour-free Peanut Butter Cookies
slightly adapted from Anna’s website
Makes about 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used natural creamy)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla until combined.
  3. Roll about one tablespoon of the dough into a ball and place on baking sheet. Flatten with a fork, creating a criss-cross pattern.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are golden around the edges. Devour.

Life-changing Peanut Butter Blondie Bars.

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If I were a gifted song writer, I would write an eloquent ode to peanut butter.

Peanut butter is my go-to snack. I go through about two jars of peanut butter in a month. I eat it on toast, bananas and apples, graham cracker, by the spoonful…and when I was young, I preferred straight peanut butter sandwiches over a PB&J. Peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are my favorite and I try to implement it into as many recipes as possible (peanut butter in oatmeal? Hmmm, this recipe for white chocolate chip cookies could use some peanut butter. PEANUT BUTTER CHEESECAKE, YES, & etc). Peanut butter & chocolate is my all-time favorite flavor combination. Perhaps I’m mutating into some species that breathes peanut butter instead of air.

Ok, I digress from the peanut butter, let’s talk about these bars.

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Mmmmmmmm, these are absolutely out of this world. You’ve never seen or tasted (or SMELLED) blondies like this before, and these are not for the faint of heart. They’re richer than Bill Gates, dense, soft, and beautifully peanut butter-y. So, so peanut butter-y. They’ll knock your socks off and leave you running for a glass of cold milk, wondering how you ever survived without them in the first place.

Have I mentioned they’re simple? Mix some of these ingredients, mix some of those ingredients, pour into a pan, and 25 minutes later, you have a dessert that is to die for. These bars will rock your world and shatter your way of thinking permanently. These bars are life-changers.

Creamy peanut butter is the only kind I had on hand, but I’m sure that crunchy would only make these bars better. Unless, of course, you’re a fan of creamy peanut butter. Whatever works for you.

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Oh, and definitely add chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter Blondie Bars
Very slightly adapted from The Post-Punk Kitchen
Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup canola oil or applesauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk (any kind)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3+ cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 square baking pan.
  2. Mix together peanut butter, oil, and sugar.
  3. Stir in milk and vanilla.
  4. Add flour, salt, and baking powder. The dough may become a little dense and difficult to stir at this point, so you can use your hands if that’s easier.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Transfer the dough to the baking pan and spread it equally. You may need to press it down to ensure it’s all equal. Sprinkle more chocolate chips on top.
  7. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. The top will look soft, but that is normal. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Devour.