Peanut butter and chocolate, aka-the perfect pair, help make these oatmeal bars amazing! Chewy and soft. Sweet and salty. What more could you ask for?
Bulk items used: oatmeal, cocoa powder
It's funny because I often see similar recipes for these chocolate peanut butter oatmeal bars called things like "Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars" or "School Lunch Peanut Butter Bars." I'm sure this is reminiscent of what was served in elementary schools back in the '90s. I know I definitely ate them for school lunch.
I doubt anything like this would be served at any school today! My kids have attended 4 different elementary schools, and at every single one of them there was a large sign on the front door that said, "PEANUT FREE ZONE."
And I know it's for good reason. It's crazy how peanut allergies are so much more prevalent today than "back in the day." Actually, 2 of my 3 kids are allergic to PB. Luckily they both have just a mild allergy, so we keep it away from them, but can still have PB in the house. I think my husband would die if we couldn't have peanut butter.
Whether they are allowed in schools anymore or not, the truth is these peanut butter bars are DELICIOUS. The bottom layer is perfectly chewy. Next comes a creamy layer of peanut butter. And the crowning layer is soft, fluffy chocolate butter cream frosting. Oooo, that frosting!
Tips for Making Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
- These bars start like so many other great desserts, by creaming butter and sugar together. To me, this is the most important step in making a dessert taste great and have the perfect texture. There are 2 things you can do to ensure success at this step.
- 1: Make sure the butter is at room temperature! This blog post does a great job at explaining why room temperature butter is important in baking. The Sparknotes version, however, is that butter greatly affects the density in baked goods and room temperature butter tends to result in the best texture! I absolutely believe this.
- 2: Let your butter and sugar cream together until light and fluffy. You don't want to just barely combine the butter and sugar and then move on to adding the next ingredients. If you let the butter and sugars really blend together until they are light in color and very fluffy, you will have softer and more velvety bars in the end. Do all the long creaming at this step. Flour should only be mixed in just until incorporated. The longer you mix the flour in, the denser the bars will become.
- The best part of these bars, in my opinion is the frosting. Chocolate butter cream! The bars themselves are chewy, so the light and fluffiness of this frosting is the perfect juxtaposition.
These bars are so easy make and even easier to enjoy! So go sink your teeth into one of these and reminisce about the simple days of elementary school, where kids were served delicious peanut butter bars along side their "chicken" "chunks." (Lol, that was legit something that was regularly served to us. Why were both words always listed in quotation marks? I was suspicious of those "chicken" "chunks" even as a 4th grader).
Let me know in the comments about any other random food you remember from school lunch. It's so fun to look back and remember the past!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
Peanut Butter Bars
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¾ cup butter room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cups flour
- 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oatmeal
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup peanut butter
- ½ cup butter
- 4 tablespoon milk
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Peanut Butter Bars
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9x13 baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Cream brown sugar, sugar, ¾ cup peanut butter, butter, eggs, vanilla in large bowl for 2 minutes.
- Add flour, oatmeal, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined.
- Press dough into prepared baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Let bars cool slightly, then spread a thin layer of peanut butter (approx 1 cup) over the cooked bars when still warm. Then spread chocolate frosting over warm bars. Enjoy!
- Add all the ingredients, except powdered sugar to a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until well combined. Mix in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. If frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar, if it's too thick, add in a bit more milk.