One thing I never thought I’d be comfortable doing in the kitchen would be to make up my own recipe for a baked good. Baking is such a science….and we all know that’s not my strong suit. With cooking, it’s all about feeling around…going with the flow, following your gut. Baking has to be just so or else the flavor and texture will be all wrong.
I’m for sure more confident in my abilities in the kitchen these days and I got inspired after receiving and email about the Pilsbury Bake-Off. Now, I’m pretty sure I’m not Bake-Off ready but I decided I was going to try my hand at making up my own recipe for a sweet treat. Just to give it a shot. First, I had to decide on the kinds of flavors I wanted to go with. For some reason peanut butter was sticking in my brain. But peanut butter and what? What do I like with peanut butter? Chocolate, of course…that’s a given. But, eh, it’s been done. Peanut butter and banana, peanut butter and jelly…hmmmm… Then it hit me! One of my favorite snacks…peanut butter and apple! Okay, now we’re on to something here!
I decided I wanted some kind of cookie something or another. LOL. In the end I decided on a cookie bar that incorporated oatmeal with an apple and peanut butter filling. After reading a ton of recipes for cookies and bars, I was actually pretty confident in my ability to put something together.
Below is the recipe exactly as I prepared it. I am the first person to admit that it was far from perfect, but just the fact that it was not a total disaster either made me smile a bit. Check out my thoughts and notes on how I plan to improve it. Not bad for a novice!
APPLE PEANUT BUTTER CRUMBLE BARS (Recipe Source: Me)
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 ½ cups rolled oats
1 cup butter, slightly softened.
4 large apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
2 tsps. Cornstarch
½ cup creamy peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line a 13X9 in. pan with foil. Grease with cooking spray
To prepare filling: In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch. In a medium saucepan, combine apples and sugar mixture. Pour water over apples and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the apples are tender and the mixture thickens slightly; about 15 minutes. Add peanut butter and stir until the peanut butter melts and the mixture is nice and thick. Set aside.
Meanwhile, combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and oats in a large bowl. Using your hands or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the mixture until coarse crumbs form.
Pour 3 ½ cups of crumb mixture into prepared pan. Press firmly into the pan. Pour filling over the top and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over the top.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until top is golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
I noticed two things right off the bat that I think are related. One, the texture was a tad dry and two, the bottom layer was a bit thick for my taste. I think if I decreased the amount of flour by 3/4 of a cup or so that might help some. Then I’m trying to decide if I want to make it more “cookie” like by adding eggs, but then I wouldn’t have a nice crumbly topping….so, I don’t know. I’m going to keep thinking on it.
Anyway, I just wanted to share because I was pretty proud that I even attempted to do something like this. I’ll repost after I tweak it some!