Wednesday, June 03, 2009

peanut butter bars

It's a great feeling to be inspired. Sometimes that inspiration comes from the darndest of places.

I was lazing around early Friday morning because I had the day off, flipping through movies on a gloomy May day. I stumbled across that Catherine Zeta-Jones movie No Reservations. It had just started and I hadn't seen it, it was about food, Aaron Eckhart is easy on the eyes- 3 reasons that made it good enough for me.

If you've seen the movie (and probably even if you haven't), you know that while it's not exactly Oscar-worthy, it's a cute chick flick that satiates the sweet/sappy craving that some people feel at one time or another. But if you're a cook at heart, it also kind of gets your burners fired up. Since I had the whole day to myself, cooking is what I did.

I got out all of my mom's old cookbooks from throughout the years and spread them around my living room floor. They were stacked high but not at all intimidatingly so. I carefully looks through each one, separating them into piles of good, no good, and downright hilarious. It was so fun reading through them, coming across some of my big grandma's (which we lovingly called her because she had a big house) newspaper clippings that were neatly folded and tucked away inside the books. My big grandma was a great cook. I wish that she had been around longer so I could have learned some of her recipes and cooked with her. I loved, so much, finding these hidden little gems so many years later (and I can't wait to make her newfound beloved recipes).

I can't explain it well, but it felt like I was going back in time when I read these recipes. The recipes were so different from what you'd find in current mainstream cookbooks, food TV and the foodie blogosphere that I frequent. One of the New Orleans Donut recipes called for the little pillows of dough to be deep fried in fat. What does that even mean? Most recipes today hold your hand through the entire process. Is it lard? Canola Oil? Crisco? Halp?!

I have many-a-recipe now dogeared, awaiting my attention, but the first one I went for came out of this book:And the recipe that I based mine off of (I only altered the frosting):

*Old Fashioned PB Bars*
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2/3 cup butter or margrine
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz good quality semi sweet chocolate
2/3 cup cream

Combine peanut butter, butter or margarine and vanilla in a large bowl: beat with electric beater until well-blended; beat in sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs, one at a time.

Stir in flour and salt just until well-blended;spread batter in a greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan.

Bake in moderate oven (350) for 35 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched with fingertip. Remove pan from oven to wire rack; cool.

Heat your cream in a heavy saucepan just until you almost see a boil, but don't let it boil. Take the cream off the heat and stir in your chocolate until smooth.

Slather the top of the cool cake with the frosting.

The recipe was very good! The was a dense cookie/cake texture, but the edges were my least favorite part, so I just cut them off. Here is the books version:
It is a good find!


zoe said...

YUM! I love peanut butter and chocolate.

Melissa said...

Family Circle?? Now THAT is a blast from the past. So cool that you have all those old books, I don't have any! I bet that would be really fun and you'd find some great stuff like these bars.

girlichef said...

Ah, makes the best food! These sound divine :D

Melissa said...

I love strumming through old cookbooks. Those PB bars look decadent.

The Food Librarian said...

These are fantastic. I love old cookbooks...and I love those PTA and church cookbooks the best. My favorite instructions are: "mix and bake til done."

Nice to "meet" another So Cal foodie! :)

unrefined polish said...

Slices look great! Thanx for ur comment, I'm a frosting freak too....

fresh365 said...

mmmm... peanut buutter bars, you can never go wring with those! I used to pour through my mom's old family circle magazines, I bet she prob has this book too!

~~louise~~ said...

Oh my, I can just tell I'm going to like visiting here. I enjoyed No Reservations. However, Cookbooks & Peanut Butter Bars. Is there anything better?

Thanks for sharing, Cori...