Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

We’ve had a bit of a heat wave lately here in New Jersey. And for the record, I knew this was going to happen. See, most years we get at least a little taste of that wonderful season called “spring.” You know, when the sun comes out and the temps are warm enough for you to walk around outside in a t-shirt without being too hot or too cold. Well, this year we basically had cold, often-rainy weather up until a couple of days ago. Then it turned hot. Really hot. I’m talking 85-degree, smog in the air hot. It’s the type of weather where my naturally curly hair doesn’t stand a chance (not that I’m above pulling it back into a bun or slapping a baseball cap on top of my head, but there’s just something about massive, uncontrollable humidity-induced frizz that makes my self-esteem take a bit of a hit) and the simple act of walking down the street is enough to make you reach for a Gatorade.

In weather like this, all I ever really want to eat is yogurt, cereal, and ice cream. And the last thing I want to do is slave over a hot stove or even contemplate turning on my oven. But alas, my desire to put something in my stomach other than pure dairy got the better of me, and so I decided to bake up some quick oatmeal bars.

The good thing about this recipe is that it’s just about the easiest thing ever. You don’t need fancy equipment or a ton of ingredients, and your oven stays on for only a short amount of time. While some people might refer to these babies as oatmeal cookie bars, to me, they’re more like candy bars. The only downside to making them smack in the middle of a heat wave is that the tops have a tendency to melt if you’re cheap and stubborn like me and refuse to run your air conditioner (though I eventually caved). In fact, you’ll definitely want to store these in the fridge, no matter the season. But if you like chewy, chocolate peanut butter candy bars, you’ll definitely want to whip up a batch of these. Just be careful offering them up to neighbors, coworkers, and friends—you may be surprised at what little you have left for yourself.


Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars


For the base:
4 cups of quick-cooking oats
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup corn syrup

For the topping:
1 cup milk chocolate, chopped (it’s okay to use chocolate chips)
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped


For the base:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside. Using a wooden spoon, combine the oats, brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup.
2. Press the mixture into your prepared pan and bake for 10-12 minutes.
3. Allow the base to cool completely (at least 30 minutes) before adding the topping.

For the topping:
1. Combine the chocolate and peanut butter in a small bowl and melt in the microwave at 50% power for 30-second increments, stirring in between each. Once the mixture is smooth, immediately stir in the peanuts and then use an offset spatula to spread the topping over the base.
2. Place the bars in the fridge to set, at least one hour.
Keep these bars stored in the fridge, not at room temp. They happen to taste really good cold, but if you’d prefer them a little warmer and chewier, just take them out about 15-30 minutes before you want to eat them. I don’t recommend microwaving them to warm them up, as the topping has a tendency to melt quickly.



Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Ah, chocolate and peanut butter. That classic combination draws me in every time. This week, I decided to unite my chocolate and peanut butter in fudge form. I saw this recipe on Brown Eyed Baker, one of my favorite blogs, and decided to give it a shot.

Now normally I’m not the biggest fudge fan. Well, I shouldn’t say that. I happen to think fudge is delicious, albeit kind of insanely sweet. But usually I’ll go for a brownie or cookie or (generous) slice of cake before opting for fudge. Still, something about this recipe called out to me, so I figured I’d mix things up a bit.

The fudge itself didn’t take long to prepare, but let me tell you, I got a bit of a workout while making it thanks to Step #5 below. But it was still totally worth it. And besides, this way I felt justified helping myself to an extra piece.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker


2½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
½ cup unsalted butter, divided, with 2 tablespoons set aside
½ cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Butter an 8-inch square pan and line the pan with parchment paper.
2. Combine the sugar, cocoa powder, evaporated milk, and corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until all the sugar dissolves.
3. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter into the mixture and stir until the butter melts. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover and boil for 3 minutes.
4. Remove the lid and continue to let the mixture cook, without stirring, until it reaches 234 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove the mixture from the heat and, without stirring, add in the remaining butter, peanut butter, and vanilla. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
5. Using a wooden spoon, beat the fudge until it thickens and begins to lose its gloss. This took me about 6-7 minutes, though the original recipe states that it can take up to 15. Um, yikes, considering that my arm felt like it was about to fall off at the 3-minute mark. You can also use a stand or hand mixture to tackle this step, but you have to be careful not to overbeat.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Allow the fudge to come to room temperature and then cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until it sets (at least 2 hours).
7. Use the parchment paper to lift the fudge out of the pan. Slice and enjoy.

Funfetti Cake Batter Bark

When it comes to candy, I’m a total kid at heart. Sure, I can indulge in a box of sophisticated truffles. But sometimes I like my candy to be bright and fun. Case in point: cake batter bark. I was in the mood for something different and decided to whip up a batch of fun, sprinkle-infused candy.

This stuff is sweet and tasty, and it’s incredibly easy to make. The bad news is that it’s also incredibly easy to eat…


Funfetti Cake Batter Bark


12 ounces semisweet chocolate
12 ounces white chocolate
3 teaspoons Funfetti cake mix
¼ cup rainbow sprinkles, plus more for topping


1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Melt the semisweet chocolate in the microwave at 50% power for 30-second intervals, stirring in between. Once melted, pour the chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until set (approximately one hour).
3. Once the semisweet chocolate has hardened, melt the white chocolate using the same method in the step above. Once melted, stir in the cake mix and ¼ cup rainbow sprinkles until well-combined.
4. Pour the white chocolate mixture over the semisweet chocolate. Use an offset spatula to spread the mixture evenly (or, if you don’t have one or get lazy, just use the back of a regular spoon).
5. Scatter additional sprinkles over the white chocolate layer as desired.
6. Return to fridge and let set for at least an hour before breaking up into individual pieces.