Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

A long time ago I read this quote somewhere; “Cooking is an art while baking is a science.”  And I couldn’t agree more.

Science and me have never gotten along.  It was one of my least favorite classes in school.  And unfortunately it was my first period class during my sophomore year of high school.

The medical part of science has always intrigued me.  But stupid me elected to take Earth Science in high school because that’s what several of my friends were taking.  So instead of maybe finding more interest in Biology, I instead was frustrated and bored to death with studying soil, plant life, and dissecting an earth worm.

Not to mention my teacher and I never saw eye to eye.  He knew I hated his class and had no interest in it whatsoever.  He also hated the fact that I showed up to his first period class every morning with a toasted bagel and a cup of coffee.  Every morning I walked in with it, and every morning he took it from me, placed it on his desk and made me pick it up after class was over.  When the bagel was soggy and the coffee cold.  Why did I bring it with me everyday if I knew he would take it away from me anyway? 

For one thing, first period class was early and it was my breakfast.  Something I didn’t have time for before class because I was too busy sleeping late and rushing to school. 

And also, I was never one for following the rules so it was sort of my way of saying; I know you hate that I bring my breakfast to class every morning but too bad, I’m doing it anyway.  Deal with it.

I’m not sure why he didn’t just eventually put his foot down and either throw away my breakfast to make a point, or write me up for it.  But he never did.  Everyday I walked into class, put my bagel and coffee down, got my books out and he would walk by, while still addressing the class, grab both the bagel and coffee and put them on his desk where I would grab them after class was over.  Maybe he had a point to make as well.

What does this have to do with the recipe I’m sharing with you?  A lot in fact, not that my babbling so far would be any indication as to where I am going with this.  Welcome to the chaos in my head.  This is where my thoughts wander when I think too much.

The reason I shared that story with you is because that quote I pointed out to you earlier is why, although I enjoy to bake, I enjoy cooking more.  Cooking is more lenient with the changes I feel compelled to make.  Since baking is actually a science, you tend to have to color within the lines when you create something or the scientific part of the baking process doesn’t always turn out right.  Since I like coloring outside of the lines, cooking allows me to be more lenient, and more scatter brained. 

The recipe I’m sharing with you today was a new one I had wanted to try from one of my cookbooks.  The problem was I didn’t follow the directions.  Not purposely.  My daughter was begging me to have a tea party with her and as I was getting ready to mix up the ingredients I got a phone call that distracted me further.  Instead of mixing the ingredients the way the recipe called for, I mixed a major ingredient in too early.  They still turned out good, but I plan to make them the correct way next time to see what the difference may have been. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars:

Makes 24 bars

Recipe from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

  • 1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Chunky Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Butter or Margarine Softened
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 14 oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine the first four ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.  Beat on medium speed with electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes.  (Mixture will be thick.)

Press half of cake mixture into an ungreased 13″ x 9″ pan.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips and drizzle on the sweetened condensed milk.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining cake mixture. 

Bake in oven for 30 minutes.  Cool completely and cut into bars. 

**Here is the mistake I made.  I mixed the cake mix, butter, peanut butter, eggs AND the sweetened condensed milk together.  I realized the mistake after all the ingredients were mixed together.  I should have left the sweetened condensed milk out as per the directions, but I didn’t.  As I mentioned, they still came out very good, but I’m curious to see what the difference would have been if I had done them correctly. 

Also, mine took just under 27 minutes to bake completely.  So watch your oven and before they get too brown, remove them to a cooling rack.


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