“I needed to find something to do with all this extra ganache.” That’s how these bars happened. And it seems like a somewhat fitting tagline to my life – a bit of a glimpse into my daily living.
Though I’ve been woefully remiss about posting, baking remains my primary means of de-stressing. Last week, I baked a cake. And the recipes in the new cookbook I’ve been tinkering with lately (which is totally delightful) make a metric boat load of frosting. So I ended up with way too much ganache. If such a thing is possible.
So the tub of ganache was sitting forlornly in my refrigerator for a few days… and as much as I’m willing to each most sweet things with a spoon, plowing through several cups of dark chocolate ganache just didn’t seem like the best way to handle the excess. Both for my sake and for its. It deserved better.
Thus, I went hunting for a way to use it – that would be quicker and easier and less “special occasion-y” than baking another cake. Bar cookies are my go to when I can’t be bothered but want something tasty. I wanted something that offered a complementary flavor that was also sturdy enough to support the ganache. These peanut butter bars fit the bill.
I didn’t add the extra peanut butter that the original recipe calls for, and, frankly, these would be good even without the ganache. I like that they aren’t overwhelmingly peanut butter flavor. There’s still some subtlety to them. And they have a nice, chewy-gooey texture that’s nevertheless sturdy.
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars (adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch)
- 3/4 cup butter – softened somewhat
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (Skippy or the like – not the natural kind)
- 3/4 Tablespoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups rolled oats
+ Your ganache recipe of choice (you probably only need a cup, maybe two)
Preheat your oven to 350° F.
Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set it aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffy – maybe 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla, and peanut butter and mix well, scraping down the sides at least once.
Add in the salt and baking soda and give it a couple passes on low. Then add in the flour and oats and mix until combined. (You could mix all these together in a separate bowl, then add them, but I don’t think you need to dirty an extra bowl).
The batter will be pretty thick, so you’ll need to spread it evenly into your 9×13 pan. Bake for 18-22 minutes, being careful not to over-bake. Once the whole top is light brown and the center looks set, you can pull them out.
Allow to cool completely before frosting with ganache or just eat ’em plain!