Every Mother's Day the past few years has been the same - family dinners. Mom loves KFC, so that's what we get her, and I make a dessert. Since KFC is so fat/salt laden, it's pretty restricted at our house to once or twice a year.
For dessert this year, I'm making pudding cakes. No, not those cake mixes with pudding in them. Those old fashioned desserts that magically separate in the oven to cake and sauce. Yum Yum.
Of course, now I need to spend the rest of my post talking about my yummy bar cookies. A while back, I saw the Barefoot Contessa episode where she made Peanut Butter and Jelly bars. I immediately thought - wow, those look good. But, the more I thought about them, the more they sounded just too sweet. AND, since most of my home made jam from last year was gone, I would have to rely on purchased jam. I don't know about you, but I am using the term "jam" losely, since I buy "fruit spreads" because those are the only ones that don't taste like pure sugar.
When I made my Rhubarb Fig Bars, I thought that crust would be a good start for a peanut butter bar. It wasn't too sweet, and the rhubarbs and figs really complimented that. So that's where I started. I chose to use fresh strawberries while I was thinking about that recipe as well.
I really love this combination. The strawberries are sweet, but not overly sweet. The lemon juice on the strawberries bring out their tartness and compliment the sweet cookie perfectly. And, the oatmeal gives a chewiness that I just love.
Don't be intimidated by this recipe. It seems to have a few components, but it comes together quickly!
Happy Mothers Day to all the Mom's out there, and hope you have a great day.
For a .pdf of the recipe, click here.
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars with Fresh Strawberries
Peanut Butter Oatmeal bars filled with fresh Strawberries
For the filling:
1 pint of strawberries, cleaned and cut into ½” pieces
1 T. sugar (if your berries are tart, add a bit more)
1/2 t. lemon juice
2 T. flour
Combine all ingredients together, and set aside while you make bars.
For the topping:
2 T. sugar
½ t. cinnamon
Mix two together.
For the cookies:
½ cup butter
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 ½ cups oatmeal
½ t. salt
1 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Spray or grease and flour an 8x8” pan. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add peanut butter and eggs and mix until completely combined.
Add flour, salt, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Fold in oatmeal. Spread ½ of the batter into your prepared pan. Top with prepared strawberries, juice and all. Gently spread remaining batter over your filling. The best way I’ve found to do this is to place teaspoons of batter slightly apart over the filling. When you have used all your batter, take a butter knife or a spatula and gently spread the filling until even and no strawberries are peaking out.
Sprinkle topping over dough and bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center of your cookies comes out clean. Cool thoroughly before cutting and serving.