Wednesday, February 6, 2013

peanut butter & oatmeal brownies

Last week was just full of those days.  By that I mean: by the time I started dinner on the weeknights, I was too hungry to go through the sometimes time-intensive & thus dinner-delaying process of while-I'm-cooking-photo-taking.  If you looked at the pictures to go along with last week's meal plan that I posted, you probably could have guessed that my dinnertime hunger was dinner...heck, I didn't even get one picture of Monday-night dinner!

Instead, I'm just going to proffer up a snapshot of my weekend to fill in for those missing dinner pictures from last week (and that missing dinner recipe, for that matter).

Saturday:  Make these brownies in the morning.  Mia (10-year-old sister), Hannah (sophomore-in-college sister), my mom, an old dog, and a young dog roll in the door.  Photo taking stops as brownie consumption commences.

Sunday, 8 a.m.:  two graduate students (Nick, who is frequently my sous-chef, and I), two pilots (my sister Hannah & her friend), one home-rehabber (my mother), a fifth grader, and a six-month-old puppy crammed into my living room.  Unsurprisingly, the youngest two of the bunch, the fifth grader and the puppy, were directing the show.

And just what we were doing there?  Participating in a fifth grade science project.  Except the fifth grader and the puppy, of course.  I'm still not sure whose crazy idea it was to test blood glucose as a science fair project.  That glucose drink made everyone sick to her stomach....

(Okay, you caught me.  I did have a part in developing that science fair experiment.  Just not the drinking-100-grams-of-glucose part.)

The two hour science experiment in my living room was actually fun (apart from the nauseating glucose drink--that part was my dad's idea, so I take no credit), but we were missing one person, the last of the four of us girls:  Steph!

I'm sure she would have thoroughly enjoyed it. :  )

As such, that brings me to the story of these brownies themselves.  When we were visiting my grandparents around Christmas, Steph made these wonderful oatmeal brownie milky way bars.  I think she doctored them up with a little bit extra brownie mix and some more milky ways, but they were so so so good, and I've been thinking about them ever since.

I wanted to do them with peanut butter and Snickers originally, but given that I had these miniature Reese's peanut butter cups on hand and no brownie mix, they took a different turn.  I hybridized that recipe with my favorite brownie recipe, and came up with what you see here.  The oatmeal gives them a chewy texture when they've cooled, which I love (Nick says this could make them a breakfast food, and while I wouldn't think twice about eating them for breakfast, I'm not sure they're not that healthy.  They are full of peanut butter cups, after all.).

Anyway, I think you will really enjoy them.  They're easy and they only make an 8-by-8-inch pan, which means they probably won't last you more than a weekend.  And they're far tastier than any glucose drink, "fruit punch" flavored or otherwise.  :  )

1 stick butter, softened
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
⅓ cup peanut butter
1 cup flour
⅓ cup cocoa powder
⅛ cup oil
⅛ cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup oats
1 (12-ounce) bag of miniature Reese's peanut butter cups

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter together and sugars using an electric mixer.
  2. Add the egg and mix until just combined.
  3. Beat in peanut butter.
  4. Mix in the flour and cocoa powder, and then stir in the oil and milk.
  5. Beat in vanilla, salt, and baking soda until you get a smooth mixture.
  6. Mix in oats.
  7. Spread about half the dough evenly in a greased 8-by-8-inch baking dish (9x9 should work too).  Using an offset spatula makes this part really easy.
  8. Unwrap your Reese's (it's okay if some disappear during the unwrapping process...).  Push peanut butter cups down into the dough.
  9. Cover the peanut butter cups with the rest of the dough, using a spatula (preferably an offset spatula) to spread it out easily.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes or until the brownies look "set" and not jiggly.  If you stick a knife or a toothpick in the middle of the brownies, it should come mostly, but not entirely, clean.
  11. Cut and serve whenever you feel like it (even while warm: warm brownies are the best kind).  Store in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap.

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