A couple of weeks ago, I was responsible for bringing lunch to a function I was attending. While I was smart as a whip for the main part of the meal, preparing items that we're tried and true winners I had already prepared before, I was not so smart when it came to preparing a dessert.
I had been wanting to try making Parisian macaroons for some time and I figured this lunch provided the perfect opportunity. Therein, I broke Rule 1 of cooking for others on a time line: don't try something new when you don't have time for a re-do if it flops. Needless to say, as you might guess, I had some issues with my macaroons. Apparently where my recipe said almond meal, what they really meant to say was almond flour. Big difference when you are making such light and delicate treats! They turned out horrible! Unservable! And it was after 9 pm when I realized that they were hopeless.
I had to teach in the morning, so if I was going to serve a dessert at that lunch, I had to come up with something quick... and easy. I was getting tired! Cookies would've been fairly easy, but I didn't feel like standing over the oven in 8 to 10 minute batches. So, I turned to the Internet to find a suitable last minute rescue!
I found this little gem on The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen site. They are so easy to make and quite tasty (ha ha). They are not overly sweet as so many cookie bars can be. I mixed and baked and was in bed in less than 40 minutes! The following morning, I cut up the bars and was on my way. They were a great hit with the ladies. Disaster averted!
Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Bars
Yield: 24 to 40 bars, depending on how you cut them
Adapted from Melissa McCauley's Recipe on Tasty Kitchen
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 TBS butter, melted
3 TBS hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Cream together the shortening, sugars, and peanut butter. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, oats, salt, and soda. Add all at once to the creamed mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed. Smooth mixture into a 9x13 inch, parchment lined pan. I leave the edges of the parchment long in one direction so that I can use them as handles when I'm ready to lift the bars out of the pan for cutting. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool thoroughly.
Beat together the powdered sugar, cocoa, butter, water, and vanilla until smooth. Spread evenly over the cooled bars. Place, covered, in the refrigerator overnight to firm up.
After they have chilled overnight (or at least four hours), use the parchment to lift the mass out of the pan onto a cutting board. Use a large pizza cutter to cut uniform pieces. Let the bars come to room temperature before serving for best flavor.