Jenny is in perpetual search for easy, weeknight recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more.
Today: A bar of cookie goodness, to whip up at any moment.
The remnant activities of early childhood are largely behind me now, captured in photos and Rashomon-like memories in which people debate whose fault it really was that my youngest fell off the monkey bars in a Los Angeles park.
I no longer supervise playground visits, push strollers through supermarkets -- dodging the annoyed adults whose ranks I have joined -- or sit pie-eyed in diners at 5:30 AM with babies who don’t seem to get the concept of daylight savings time.
All that has largely been replaced by a new era of mothering tasks, like monitoring Twitter feeds (“Just came downstairs to see my dad watching Legally Blonde alone”), explaining the use of the clothes dryer, and talking about what to do when others are drinking at the party.
But one thing that has not changed a whit is the desire among my children for homemade cookies for everything -- from cast party potlucks, to daily lunch boxes, to birthday parties for teenage girls.
Notice does not always come quickly, and so I try to keep the cookie jar well stocked, and I am always on the lookout for something fast. As weeknight recipes go, Granola Peanut Butter Icebox Bars with Oatmeal Cocoa Streusel is pretty special. because you don’t even have to turn on your oven.
It does help to start ahead, fridging half this mama the night before you need your cookies, or maybe in the morning before work. This dessert is sweet, a bit unusual, and packed with a lot of cookie goodness -- but not for those who avoid peanuts.
On the tips front, I would use the least-sweet granola you can find, because this recipe has quite a bit of sugar. A standing mixer helps with the cream cheese, which can be a pill to mix with a handheld version. Either dutch or natural cocoa powder will be fine.
The recipe does not indicate how long to whip that heavy cream; I went for soft peaks. I prefer using crunchy peanut butter (commercial please, not natural) and skipping the extra peanuts, but that’s your call. Use some fancy chocolate, if you have it. Someone else suggested a sprinkle of good salt to finish it off. Yes please.
Makes an 8x11 pan
For Granola Crust and Oatmeal Topping
1 cup granola (I used vanilla), ground in food processor
5 tablespoons melted butter, divided
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup oatmeal, uncooked
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
Peanut Butter Ice Box Cake
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups heavy cream, whipped
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
Photo by James Ransom
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).Order now