When I was a kid, health food was chopped celery suspended in lemon Jello. Kids ate baloney (talk about mystery meat!) on white bread and moms made their baked goods with a healthy dose of lard.
It’s truly a miracle any of us reached adulthood.
But, the thing is that we remember some of the atrocious things we ate with so much nostalgia and fondness. We really do want to go back in time and taste those things once again.
Some of our most vivid food memories (good and bad) are from the school lunches; the spaghetti that clumped together like a big ball of starch, the lukewarm milk and the sloppy Joes. But, the part we always managed to eat were the desserts. Oh, glorious brownies and cookies and cups of ice cream! They were delicious.
Well, I came across this recipe for the peanut butter bars that occasionally sat on our cafeteria trays and I changed out some of the unhealthy ingredients, so you can almost, kind of, pretend they’re healthy (at least in Ann-land).
Also, I’ve shared before how my husband likes to buy the cheapest price-per-pound packages of food. Basically, that means that I have a vat of peanut butter in my fridge at all times. This is a great way to use some of it up!
Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13” by 9” pan with cooking spray, line it with parchment paper and spray again. (If you cut diagonal slits in each corner, the parchment will lay nicely in the pan).
- 2 cubes butter (one cup)
- 1 ½ cups peanut butter (I used organic, no fat added peanut butter)
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 4 eggs (room temperature if possible)
- 2 cups flour (I used gluten-free)
Take four eggs out of the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temp. Melt together the butter and peanut butter (I did it on low heat on the stovetop, but I’m sure you could use the microwave). Let it cool to room temp (I stuck it in the fridge for a few minutes because I’m impatient). Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, mix together both of the sugars and the salt. Beat in one egg at a time, mixing well after each one. Add in the vanilla extract. Beat in the butter and peanut butter mixture until combined. Add in the flour and stir just until the flour disappears. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake until a tester/toothpick comes out with moist crumbs (35-40 minutes). Let the bars cool completely.
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup melted peanut butter
- 2-4 tablespoons milk (depending how thick you want your frosting to be)
Beat all your icing ingredients together and pour over the cooled bars. Let it set completely before you cut the bars.
And, that’s it. You’ll end up with moist, yummy, peanut buttery bars. They’re perfect on these rainy, dreary days!
What do you remember from your school lunches?