I met Clari during my freshman year in college, a most impressionable time of life. She was the mother of my roommate and lived in the same town as the school we attended, making her house a handy place to do laundry and pick up snacks at the same time.
After eating her legendary Glazed Peanut Butter Bars, I asked Clari for the recipe to add to my collection seeing as I was a Home Economics major and already knew I loved cooking and baking. She gave it to me, along with three other recipes. They weren’t scribbled on note cards or a patch of paper but were instead, typewritten perfectly, and this was before everybody owned a computer. Her penchant for neatness and organization was also displayed in her house, making it seem peaceful and inviting. She dressed impeccably and seemed to maintain her ideal weight effortlessly (although I suspect it wasn’t as easy as she made it look). June Cleaver had nothing on this woman. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.
If only it was as simple as making these cookies. They have a lighter texture than brownies. Depending on your choice of peanut butter, they can be crunchy or smooth. Thankfully, they aren’t the least bit gooey making them perfect for a fancy holiday cookie tray or a simple lunch box treat. They are my FAVORITE peanut butter cookie!
The glaze may look like a lot of trouble but don’t leave it off. It’s what makes these bars special and the random pattern requires no artistic talent. Drizzling chocolate over the top adds a Reese’s touch.
Can you guess what was responsible for the little holes in the picture above?
I figured out it’s IMPORTANT to get the tiny lumps out of brown sugar before you add it to this recipe. Because I thought I didn’t have time for such foolishness, a few sub-centimeter, hard nuggets of brown sugar melted in the finished product leaving a moth-eaten appearance. Don’t worry–no bars were wasted as the taste was not affected in any way.
- 1 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
- ⅔ cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar (push through a sieve to remove any lumps)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons water
- 2 squares semi-sweet chocolate OR ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces + 1 teaspoon shortening, melted
- First: Combine peanut butter and butter in a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar and continue to beat for 1-2 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time then add vanilla.
- Second: Stir in flour and salt just until well blended; spread batter in greased or foil lined 13x9 inch baking pan.
- Third: Bake in 350-degree oven for 35 minutes, or until center springs back when lightly touched with fingertip. Allow to cool slightly.
- Fourth: Combine powdered sugar with water in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Drizzle from a spoon over still-warm cookies in pan; Swirl with a spoon to make random pattern.
- Fifth: Melt chocolate in a small zippered, plastic bag for one minute in microwave. Knead with fingers to make sure it is melted. Return to microwave for a few additional seconds if necessary. Chips may take a little longer. Snip a small tip from one corner and drizzle over the white glaze in a random black and white pattern. When cool, use a sharp knife to cut into 36 rectangles. (I like them best cold out of the fridge.)
If you like to make bars, you might also enjoy these…