Wednesday, November 14, 2007

No Bake Bars - Almost Like What I Remember

I've been thinking a lot lately about when I started to love cooking. I've written before how I grew up around some amazing cooks; I can still remember pulling a chair over to the counter and asking my grandmother or my Great Aunt Maggie to let me sift the flour, or turn the squash, or stir the grits. (Hello. Yes. I'm Southern, and if that sentence doesn't prove it then I don't know what does.) I think cooking satisfied a deep-seated desire in me to control things - you know, choosing the recipe, measuring the ingredients. (Some things never change!)

As young as 10 I was making breakfast - pancakes, eggs and sausage - at my cousins' house on Saturday mornings. Their mom would let us do pretty much what we wanted on those weekends, and our simple breakfasts are probably the first full meals I ever made. In middle school I took my first home-ec class, and would you believe I still have the recipes from that class? And I use them! Homemade pancakes and stir fry - and they're still as good as I remember (but my handwriting has definitely improved.) I'm pretty sure that class pushed me to try other things, and my love for baking was born. I started out making School Fudge from a recipe out of the church cookbook. (They're actually no-bake drop cookies, and they're the inspiration for this recipe, too!) I still love those cookies, and I'll have to share it with you guys one day, soon, too.

High school brought more home-ec classes and recipes for chocolate-chip cookies and croissants. My mom was also in school (and my dad worked third shift) so I made dinner for my sisters and myself quite often: I mastered mac-n-cheese and squash casserole during that time. Then came college, and my three roommates and I were considered odd because we all had one night to cook, and we actually sat down at the table together to eat every evening. (We also cooked for boys once in a while, but only one of us married the boy we cooked for back then!)

I'm pretty sure that I stole Brad's heart through is tummy. And my dad doesn't call me Mini Martha for no reason. And my grandfather often tells people that I'm a good cook - and I know he knows where I learned it all from, and that makes him even happier. Food is a big part of my history and it fills my memories. I think that's one reason why I love it so. There's a reason it's called soul food, you know? When it's done right it warms you through: body, heart and mind. And that's just how it should be.

No Bake Bars
Adapted from AllRecipes
Printer-friendly version

1 cup salted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter

1: Spray a 9-inch square pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
2. In a large pan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla, and oats. Reduce heat to low and cook two to three minutes.
3. Place half the mixture in prepared pan. (Reserve other half for top.)
4. In a small, heavy pot over low heat, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter. Stir until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture over oats in pan, spreading evenly.
5. Crumble remaining oats over chocolate and press gently. Cover and refrigerate two to three hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before slicing.


  1. Mmmmmm! I haven't had those in YEARS!!! Sounds great!! I still have a biscuit recipe from my 8th grade home ec class! I love this post Abby!! What great memories!

  2. I love that food is so much more than just food . It is memories, and togetherness and love all wrapped up in one. I think that is why it is so easy to get so passionate about it.

    I have had no bake cookies before (in fact, I have some waiting to be posted about!!) but never no bake bars. These sound wonderful!

  3. Absolutely 100% going to make these. YUM Just went through the (minimal - YEA!) ingredient list in my head and I've got everything already! Looks so tasty... but I'm afraid about Deborah's post about the average holiday weight gain.

  4. Of COURSE you still have your recipes, Carrie! I'm not surprised at all that we have similar fond memories of those classes.

    You're right, Deborah. Food is all about passion in one form or another. I love that about it!

    kara: Eat one. Give two to Chris. And take the rest to work!

    *Note: These bars are fairly crunch and messy, which makes them kind of fun. They're similar to cookies in the ingredients, but not the outcome, because their chilled and have butter (I'm guessing.) Just a heads up!

  5. I am glad I am not the only one who snagged a husband through his stomach!:) Loved reading your 'food history'. I can relate!

  6. By the way - how did you get your bars so thin? The picture on shows much thicker (less appealing" bars! Did you use a different pan?

  7. I don't *remember* using a different sized pan, but I very may well have. I do know that I ended up with a lot of bars. I made them for dessert when we had a few people coming over for dinner so I may have tried to stretch them!

    And honestly? They're so sweet and rich that they really don't need to be any bigger! I don't think it matters what size pan you use bc they aren't baked, just chilled, so just match it to your use!

  8. These look great! I love nobake oatmeal recipes.

  9. These bars certainly bring back memories of all those home-ec classes right through to Grade 12. These days the kids don't get the same opportunity in school. They can take either cooking or sewing, but not both if they want to graduate with enough credits. Too many choices. My daughter never learned to sew.

  10. Oh about childhood memories. I am definitely bookmarking this site--I want to try out this recipe!

  11. I am definitely making those for an upcomig Sunday potluck! They sound great! I agree with you 100% on all the memories of food. My grandfather often tells me how proud he is of my cooking and I know it makes him think about my late grandmother and I am happy I can continue what she had started...making everybody happy with her cooking. I too believe Hubbs fell hard for my cooking...poor man can only boil water!!

  12. We have friendly friday at the YMCA where people bring treats to share. This looks like a must try!

  13. These bars look amazing & I am linking to them in my post tomorrow :)


Like Thumper's mama told him: If you can't so something nice, don't say anything at all. Thanks, y'all.