Picnics are one of those things that always sound fun when other people talk about them. They even look fun when I see them in the movies or even driving by a local park.
The sun is shining. A gentle breeze blows. The picnic blanket and basket are perfect. The food is delicious. There’s soothing music playing.
But I know the reality (even if I’ve never had a picnic). Bright sunshine will suddenly give way to dark clouds and a downpour. The wind will blow me, the food, the blanket, and everything else in its path. The food will be soggy or poorly made or just generally no delicious. And the only music will be car horns and the too loud stereos that accompany them.
Okay, so maybe I’m being overdramatic (MEEEEEEE? NOOOOOOO! Never!), but I swear, if I had a picnic, I’m sure that’s exactly what would happen.
Your picnic will almost certainly go better.
Especially if you make these Peanut Butter Carob Bars. Seriously, I wanted to grab a spoon and eat straight from the pan while these were piping hot out of the oven. Okay, so I may have done that, but only to take a taste of the corner, for quality assurance purposes.
These start with a chewy, gooey, slightly underbaked, super peanut buttery, oatmeal cookie base that on its own is to die for. But then you spread more peanut butter on top. Don’t be skimpy! And top that with a cooked carob frosting that I could eat with a spoon.
Hot, these are possibly one of the best things ever. Don’t get me wrong, they are still great at room temperature, but do yourself a favor and take a giant, messy taste when these come out of the oven. Then grab the rest for your picnic.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 heaping cup creamy peanut butter
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
¼ cup carob powder
¼ cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand but a hand or stand mixer would work too. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla. Fold in the flour until completely combined.
Spread batter in an even layer into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the bars are setting around the edges but still very soft in the middle.
Dollop peanut butter on top of the bars. Allow to sit 1-2 minutes, then spread into an even layer.
Make the frosting. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add carob and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and then the confectioners’ sugar. Pour the frosting over the peanut butter layer and spread so it evenly coats the bars. Allow to cool before cutting and serving, or throw caution to the wind and dig right in!
Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy
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