If you follow the blog by email, you probably got an email yesterday with a broken link. Don’t worry. It’s not you, it’s me. I published a post, then thought better of it. It was a little mopey, a little mean, you really didn’t need to read it. I promise. Still, I feel I owe you a little something to make up for the blunder. And so, I give you the best, easiest, fastest cookie bar recipe ever. Seriously, start to finish in under an hour. And unless you don’t like peanut butter (like my boss’s boss, what?) or chocolate (I’m not even going to comment on this), you will LOVE these.
But first, you have to suffer through the back story. My mother discovered these bars on the back of the Nestle Toll House milk chocolate morsels bag (where else?). Somehow, she seems to be the only person who read the back of the bag that year, because no one else knows this recipe exists. Seriously. No one. Once mom discovered it, we couldn’t get enough. It became a staple in the summertime, in the fall, and of course on our Chanukah cookie platter. We ate them on the boat. We ate them on the deck (and the dock). We ate them by the fire. We ate them for dessert, for a snack, and sometimes for breakfast. (In fact, Matt might have had two bars for breakfast just last week.)
However, none of these cookie-bar-eating moments compares to the most important role these cookies will ever play. In a moment of sheer insanity, I decided to bake these as gifts for the guests at our wedding. We had 120 guests. Everyone got 2 cookies. You do the math. I also had the brilliant idea to include the recipe, so now at least 120 people know the chocolate-peanut-buddy-bar secret. And in 10 minutes, when I click “Publish”, anyone who Googles “chocolate peanut butter heaven” or “best cookie bar ever” could also be in on it. For this extreme act of generosity, I ask one thing in return: Make these for the person or people who mean the most to you. For the folks having a bad day who need a pick me up. For the jerk in your office who jams the copier and doesn’t tell anyone. Yes, he gets one, too. Because these cookie bars are going to make people happy (even the grumpy coworker) and happiness is infectious. And what’s better than a happiness epidemic?
My other gift to you today? No terrible food photography. Icing on the cake! Or melted chocolate on the cookie bar…. (You’re welcome.)
Chocolate Peanut Buddy Bars from Very Best Baking by Nestle
1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (11.5-ounce package) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Milk Chocolate Morsels, divided
PREHEAT oven to 350º F.
BEAT peanut butter and butter in large mixer bowl until smooth. Beat in sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat in flour and salt. Stir in 3/4 cup morsels. Spread into ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
BAKE for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Sprinkle with remaining morsels. Let stand for 5 minutes or until morsels are shiny; spread evenly. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.
[Sarah’s Notes: 1. It will be very, very difficult to let these cool completely before slicing into them. If you’re like me, you will cut the bars when they’re still warm (or hot. Who am I kidding? I can’t wait 5 minutes). This has it’s draw backs, as the edges of you bars will be messy when they finally cool. But it also has the incredibly huge benefit of giving you the opportunity to wipe the melted chocolate off your knife with your fingers. I’ll let you infer what happens next. 2. You can use semi-sweet chocolate in a pinch, but trust me the milk chocolate is world’s better.]