11 September 2008

No-Bake Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

One of my employees has abandoned me (sniff). E. is sweet and smart and just a doll to work with; she often hides behind her shy personality, and was a vital part of our department. When she sat me down a few months ago to tell me she was moving out of state, I was not only surprised but a bit sad to see her presence go.

I also must mention that E. has a slight obsession with cows. Slight is an understatement. They cover her very being, found in every square inch of her cubicle, hanging from the ends of her bookshelves and overflowing onto her desk. I'm not totally clear on the story behind them (well, actually I kind of am, but am not going to divulge it here), but it's a very intriguing part of her personality.

When she announced her leaving, we found a way to have her contract out as a freelancer for our company. Sweet! And yet, I was still sad to see E. and her cow shrine go. On her last day in our office, she carefully packed all her belongings, including her cows. One lone cow remained on a shelf, and when she took a load of boxes to her car, I stood over her cubicle staring at that sad lonely cow. The sole reminder of a great gal soon to be no longer around.
So I stole him. He's a smushy plastic mess of a cow, but beloved none the less.

I sneaked out of her cubicle with him, but not before leaving a gift in exchange: two huge squares of that peanut-buttery, chocolate-y dessert that Martha Stewart fancy-fied into bars. Yum. Totally worth my petty theft.

I took these bars to a potluck for the Cow-Lovin' Coworker in Question, in honor of her last official day of employment. They are everything a person could want from a no-bake: rich, sweet, filling. These suckers don't disappoint.

No-Bake Chocolate and Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
(shamelessly stolen from Cape Cod Makeover)

Cooking spray
9 oz. chocolate wafers, finely ground (2 cups)
1 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 c. confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
5 oz. unsalted butter
1 c. chunky peanut butter
3/4 c. + 3 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
10 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted

Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the 2 long sides.

Combine wafers, oats, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add chunky peanut butter and 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter, whisking until well combined. Add peanut butter mixture to wafer mixture, stirring until combined. Transfer to baking dish, and use the bottom of a measuring cup or an offset spatula to firmly press mixture into an even layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pour melted bittersweet chocolate over chilled mixture and, using an offset spatula, spread into a thin layer that covers the entire surface. Refrigerate until hardened, at least 15 minutes.

Heat remaining 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter in a small saucepan until runny. Drizzle peanut butter over chilled chocolate. Refrigerate until hardened, about 15 minutes.

Use parchment to lift out chilled block of bars. Run a sharp knife under hot water, dry well, and cut into 24 squares, wiping knife between cuts. Let bars stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. (Sliced bars can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month.) We used chocolate graham crackers in place of the wafer cookies and dark chocolate in place of the milk chocolate.


Stacey said...

WOW!! They look amazing. PB and Chocolate my fav! I'll be making them soon.

Anonymous said...

If you ever want to send her a little surprise in the mail, I have a shed FULL of cows... Ok... Kows, sitting in little intertubes sipping cocktails. They're like rubber duckies but kows. And Kow shirts, and pens with Kows and key chains and temporary tatoos.... the list goes on and on.

Nemmie said...

Amy, my Kow Hook-up! That's hilarious :)

Anonymous said...

Those look too good to be no bake! Can't wait to try these later.

Holly. said...

Can't wait to eat these tonight!! Step one of refridgeration is happening as I type. Thanks for the recipe!!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely adore these kind of bars! These looks sooo delicious :)

Anonymous said...

those look awesome! being a college student, i love finding sweets like these that i don't need an oven for. thanks for this post :)

James said...

mmm.. this is awesome. I love chocolate. I like to try now to follow your recipe.