One of my first introductions to baking came in the form of a McDonalds brand Happy Meal Cookie Maker. Essentially, it was a plastic device that crumbled graham crackers and after I mixed the crumbles with peanut butter and chocolate powder they were pressed through the machine and came out in cookie shapes. There was no actual baking, but the “cookies” were delicious, if not exactly the most nutritious afternoon snack. Fast forward to present day,
many years later; I find myself biting into my latest baking creation and suddenly realizing why it tastes so familiar. I have unintentionally captured the essence of my youthful McDonalds cookie creations in a delicious snack bar! Like their predecessors, they’re still not the healthiest of afternoon snacks, but these peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip bars sure are scrumdidlyumpcious! Plus, they’re made with whole wheat pastry flour so they’re a ‘grown up snack’ right?
These bars were but one stop on a glorious weekend, so today we’re departing from our standard repertoire of food porn to show you some pictures of the exquisite flowers we picked up at the farmers market on Sunday morning prior to baking these snack bars for a potluck where they were named – thanks to our friend Eliza! Enjoy!
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Snack Bars
(makes one 8×8 pan worth)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cups creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (cow, goat, soy, almond and rice will all work fine)
1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 cup toasted nuts – pecans or walnuts work well (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of an electric or stand mixer, beat your peanut butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy, about a minute. Add in vanilla extract and mix until combined. Next, mix in your flour, oats, salt and baking soda on medium speed. Turn your mixer to the lowest speed and slowly pour in your milk. Mix until well combined and resembles cookie dough in texture. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips and nuts (optional) by hand.
Form the dough into a ball, then press it into an even layer in a lightly greased 8×8 pan. pressing it to fit. Bake on the middle rack for 18-20 minutes, or until set and golden on top. Let it cool completely, then invert onto a plate, turn upright and cut into squares.