Remember these oatmeal peanut butter bars from school?

Reader and local freelance writer Kelly Larson posted a photo on Instagram that made me remember another childhood treat I loved: oatmeal peanut butter bars.

These oatmeal peanut butter bars were a staple in her school when Kelly J. Larson was a child in Oklahoma. Contributed by Kelly J. Larson

As she explained on her blog, Kelly’s Kitchen Creations (kellyskitchencreation.com), this layered bar is a Midwestern dessert through and though. You probably already have the ingredients in your pantry right now, and it’ll feed a whole classroom.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars

When I was a kid in Oklahoma, the school cafeteria food was so good. The lunch ladies served decent meals that included hot, homemade rolls each day and, once a week, the most incredible oatmeal peanut butter bars. That was my favorite day. Everyone (in my age range) knows exactly what I’m talking about.

After a few decades of missing them, I finally have the recipe that my elementary self dreamed of and hope to pass this on to all who long for those good ol’ cookie bars, or anyone who likes oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate and hasn’t tried them yet.

— Kelly J. Larson

For the bottom layer:
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cups uncooked oatmeal (quick 1-minute style or old fashioned)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups flour
For the middle layer:
1 cup peanut butter
For the frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk (plus a few more drops if needed)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the bottom layer ingredients together in a stand mixer, then press into the bottom of a large baking sheet (18.5 inches by 13 inches by 1 inch) that has been lightly sprayed with a nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes.

Press down the baked cookie base edges that are higher from the rest of the pan while cooling using an offset spreader. Drop spoonfuls of peanut butter randomly across top of baked cookie base to make the middle layer. Spread evenly using an offset spreader.

Mix frosting ingredients together until smooth. Drop spoons full of frosting carefully on top of middle layer, then spread evenly across the top with an offset spatula. Cut into squares and serve. Makes 32 bars.

— From Kelly J. Larson, Kelly’s Kitchen Creations (kellyskitchencreation.com)

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