Easy Sweets

Funny thing about the holiday season in December: just about the time one passes, another is on the way. It is a festive, busy time of the year steeped in traditions. One of mine involves having sweets on hand. Whether they are cookies, bars, candies, pie, or cake, my home always has a place set at the table for a sweet tooth. If you're finding things a little thin in that department, consider a decadent bar that's easy to make and even pretty quick:

What we have there, my friend, is an oatmeal cookie base with a layer of extra-rich chocolate-peanut butter fudge spread over the top. The result is simply amazing and I tend to turn to these bars whenever I've run out of ideas and want something to cater to my chocolate cravings. They are particularly fantastic because I nearly always have the ingredients I need to make them on hand.

If you and yours don't like dark chocolate, I'm no longer your friend. Just kidding! You can replace the dark chocolate chips with milk chocolate or even white chocolate chips. If there's a peanut allergy, my condolences and consider using something like nutella in place of the peanut butter. You could try flavored chips or the like, but I like chocolate and peanut butter because they pair so nicely with the basic oatmeal cookie bar on the bottom layer.

They are wonderful, of course, as dessert, but I'm also fond of putting together a cup of my favorite chai and enjoying them by the Christmas tree in the afternoon. It's very festive and often spells the only time of the day I'm likely to get a little quiet, at least, this time of the year. So set aside a little time in the morning to whip these up and then set aside another little bit of time in the afternoon to spoil yourself a little. That's not a bad tradition to embrace, too!

Oatmeal Bars with Peanut Butter Fudge

  • 1 c. softened butter
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. oatmeal (NOT quick-cooking)
  • 1 c. dark chocolate chips
  • 1 c. peanut butter

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Combine the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract; beat until creamy. Beat in the eggs. Add the flour and oatmeal. Spread into a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 20 minutes.

While the oatmeal base is cooling, microwave the chocolate chips in a large, microwaveable bowl for 1 minute. Stir the chips, add the peanut butter, and microwave for an additional 30-60 seconds to fully melt the mixture. Stir once more before spreading the warm chocolate-peanut butter mixture over the oatmeal base. Place in fridge to let cool and harden for 30 minutes.

  • Yields: 24 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time

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