The secret to a perfect marriage is here, right here, at Drowsy Water Ranch. Yes, you better believe it, we have all the components for a perfect marriage: sweetness, softness, dependability, and fun.
The marriage also includes a lot of chocolate. And peanut butter.
Jealous now? Huh? Are ya? Bet you didn't see that one coming.
I bet you thought we're talking about Ken and Randy Sue, folks, or Justin and Gretta? Both of those marriages are a-okay, but neither compare to the relationship involved in the Drowsy Water Ranch Peanut Butter Bars. When these bars are baked in the DWR kitchen, other marriages turn green with envy. Other marriages can see the perfection in the relationship forged between the peanut butter and chocolate in the ranch bars. Other marriages know they can't make you feel this good. It's a shame this marriage is only around a few times each summer.
Or they were, until now, because now you can enjoy them at home. Now that this secret little ranch recipe is out, maybe they'll even improve your marriage. After all, who can't smile for a least a second when they have mouthful of lovely chocolate dancing the tango with smooth peanut butter? It definitely won't hurt anything to give 'em a shot.
First, gather your ingredients: chocolate, peanut butter, butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg, flour, oats, vanilla, baking soda, salt, powdered sugar (yes, three kinds of sugar) and milk.
Next, watch for small fingers looking to steal the secret ingredients.
Cream together your first two sugars (brown and white) with butter or margarine or shortening. I always use real butter--it is one of life's great joys.
Add and mix in the vanilla, egg, an peanut butter. WARNING: You will have a bowl of creamy deliciousness. Try not to eat too much of it.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and oatmeal.
Mix your dry ingredients into the bowl of creamy deliciousness. Then press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9"x11" pan.
Here is a secret tip (we are full of secrets today): use wet fingers to press the mixture down. If you don't use wet hands, the mixture mostly ends up stuck to your hands. I can't say that is necessarily a bad thing, but if you want to eat the final product and not just the intermittent steps, you might try to get the mixture on the bottom of the pan.
Bake this crust at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Then pull the crust out of the oven and sprinkle with the most heavenly delicious bits of yumminess ever (that is their scientific name; also known by their common name as chocolate chips).
Now, scoop MORE peanut butter out of the jar,
Mix your PB with a little milk and powdered sugar (I repeat, that's the third kind of sugar involved in this recipe).
You'll end up with your second bowl of creamy deliciousness. Just set it aside for a minute. You have to deal with the chocolate chips first.
By now, the chocolate chips have been given adequate time to melt while wrapped in the warm arms of peanut buttery goodness. Spread them all around to form a thin layer of chocolate on top of the crust.
Return to your bowl of sugary, peanut buttery creaminess.
You are now at the point in the recipe where you can choose your own adventure. You can pick one of two paths for the final look of your bars; either you choose the marbled look and spread the peanut butter cream on top of the slightly warm chocolate causing the two toppings to swirl and dance arm in arm.
Or you can choose the layered look. It has more of a clean finish with straight lines of peanut butter and chocolate. If you have black and white accents in your home and like to wear pin stripes, this might be the look for you. To achieve this look, let your chocolate cool completely (I tossed the whole pan in the freezer for 10-15 minutes) before spreading the creamy peanut butter topping on for the final layer.
Here is a contrast of the two styles done side by side in the same pan.
Next, the final step, is to cut these little babies (yes, this marriage moved fast, they already had babies! Gasp! Scandal!). Then eat. And share with your beloved. Or eat all the marbled look bars yourself,
And give the layered versions to your straight and narrow love.
Then let us know if these little bars aren't the new secret to your marriage.
Drowsy Water Peanut Butter Bars
1/2 cup butter or shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 peanut butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Blend in egg, peanut butter and vanilla. In separate bowl, mix together flour, oats, salt and soda. Combine flour and sugar mixtures. Press mix onto the bottom of a greased 9"x11" pan using wet fingers to prevent sticking. Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle crust with chocolate chips. Let sit 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, and milk. Set aside.
Spread chocolate chips over crust using spatula. For a marbled look, immediately spread powdered sugar and peanut butter mixture over the top of chocolate chips. For a more layered look, allow chocolate to cool completely before spreading peanut butter and sugar mix on the top.