It’s not that I don’t love my babies. I do, of course! I am just not a great pregnant woman, in case that hasn’t been apparent over the last 5 years and 8 months. (My baby will be FIVE next month! Sob!!!)
One area that suffered last school year was my willingness to feed our dorm boys. We had them over for dinner once all year, and I probably only made them treats a handful of times. I really do enjoy feeding them and getting to test out new recipes on them! Not to mention it’s handy to have 40 high-school boys to take goodies to when I want to bake but not necessarily have my family eat cookies and brownies and cake all the time.
These bars were the dessert for a dinner I made for five boys and our family this week. (This is the group Mr. V is sort of in change of and meets with weekly.) We had Antipasto Salsa, Creamy Tomato Crockpot Chicken and Pasta, and a big green salad.
The boys went ga-ga over dessert. I wasn’t sure they would, since not every culture appreciates peanut butter and chocolate together, and our group has two Koreans, one Chinese, and two Americans. But they gobbled them up.
I made bars instead of cookies just because I had a lot of other stuff going on in the kitchen. I don’t know why I don’t do that more often! It’s so easy. While you don’t get all the crunchier edges and softer middles of a batch of cookies, bars still taste wonderful and are great if you’re feeling a little lazier in the kitchen.
Prepare your baking dish. (I used one that's about 10x10; if you use a 9x13 you will want to decrease cooking time, for an 8x8 increase it.) Spray with cooking spray or grease with butter, then line with parchment paper, letting the paper hang over the edges. Then grease or spray the parchment paper.
With a mixer, cream together egg, brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla for about 3-5 minutes, until fluffy. Add in flour, baking soda, and salt and stir or run mixer on low speed until just blended together. Stir in Reese's pieces and chocolate chips.
Spoon dough into prepared pan, then press down to even thickness with wet hands. Smooth with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, covered with plastic wrap.
When ready to bake, preheat over to 350. Bake bars for 25-30 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick or sharp knife. I felt mine were a little underdone and still denser in the middle, but the boys loved them.
Let cool completely, then remove bars from pan with parchment paper. Remove paper and cut bars into squares.
- My source for this recipe has baked with peanut butter often and suggested not using the natural kinds. I went and bought "regular" peanut butter for use in this recipe. Usually I just risk it and go natural since that's what I keep on hand, but the natural can be oily so use your judgment.
- This is not sponsored by Reese's or Ghiradelli. I don't know who else makes chocolate-peanut butter pieces like these, so I think it's safe to say use Reese's! And I like the Ghiradelli chips because they're more like discs and melt perfectly in the dough. But use any chocolate chip you have on hand.