I have a co-worker, Nick, who loves to bake. Nick is a twenty-something Human Resource Recruiter here at Land O’Lakes. We have had the pleasure of working together for the past couple of years, as Nick helps us find our summer intern each year. I recently found out about his passion for baking and I thought it would be fun to have him come to the Test Kitchens and bake with me.
I asked Nick to select one of his favorite recipes. With the help of his mom he chose a childhood treat which we have named, Nick’s Peanut Butter Dream Bars. He brought in a photo copy of the recipe for me where I noticed in the margin, in little boy handwriting, were the words, “Nick’s favorite recipe.” He remembers writing this in about fifth grade. Nick’s mom, Vicki, shared her love of baking with him by encouraging him to bake along side her when he was young. Here’s a picture of Nick and his mom.
We had a lot of fun baking together. Nick did most of the work while I watched and our summer intern, Mallory, took pictures. Nick’s Peanut Butter Dream Bars are quite easy to make and have made it into my “favorites” file as well.
Begin by heating your oven to 375°F. In a large bowl stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt.
Stir in the melted butter until the oat mixture is moistened and well-mixed.
Set aside 1 ½ cups of this crumb mixture.
Press the remaining crumb mixture on the bottom of a greased 13x9-inch baking pan. A tip to make this easy is to first dump the oat mixture into the pan.
Then gently shake the pan bake and forth to distribute the crumb mixture more evenly in the pan.
Then use your fingers to press the crumbs into to the pan.
Bake for 12 minutes.
The crumb mixture will be just beginning to brown and will look set when it is ready to come out of the oven.
While the crumb mixture is baking, combine the sweetened condensed milk and the peanut butter in a small bowl.
Stir until well mixed.
Spoon the peanut butter mixture onto the baked crust.
Carefully spread to within ¼-inch from the edge to evenly coat the baked crust.
In a small bowl, combine the reserved crumb mixture and the candy-coated chocolate pieces.
Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the peanut butter mixture. Nick and I decided this works best using clean hands.
Gently press the mixture slight into the peanut butter mixture. Again, clean hands work great for this step.
Now they are ready to go back in the oven and bake for 18 to 22 minutes.
The bars will be golden brown.
Here we are with our fresh from the oven Nick’s Peanut Butter Dream Bars.
Cool completely and then cut them into bars.
I insisted that Nick eat a bar for a photo. He showed us his favorite way to eat Nick’s Peanut Butter Dream Bars – dip them in milk!
Nick has learned that sharing fresh made baked goods can make you very popular so he took the rest of the bars to share with his co-workers. We had a blast baking together. I now know why Nick’s mom taught Nick to bake using this recipe. It’s a great recipe to make with kids since they can help measure, add, stir, press, sprinkle, and of course eat. Let us know if it made your “favorites” list by commenting, and please rate and review this recipe.
Summer gardens mean plenty of fresh vegetables for grilling....check out my next blog for a tasty side dish.
Becky Wahlund is the Director of the Test Kitchens for Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.