Birthday Baking

Well, I didn’t realize time was going to get away from me quite to this degree! Since we last posted, Mr. N wrapped up a successful run of his play; Mike traveled to and from Poland; school ended; Nana and Papa came for a visit from Florida; the kids’ camps started and Mike and I celebrated 14 years of marriage.

Most importantly though, we had a week-long birthday celebration for Mr. N who is now in the double digits – 10 years old! (We love our birthdays!) Now admittedly I have not been in the kitchen very often through this busy stretch – at least not to cook anything worth mentioning – but a birthday was not about to go by without some homemade baking. So rather than share more highlights from our last European destination, today we’ve actually got food!

Mr. N’s birthday celebration began with a surprise birthday party with the cast of the play and a karaoke night. He was completely surprised and filled with happiness. I even got an unprompted hug and thank you for one of the greatest nights of his life! karaoke night

Next up was his actually birthday. Unfortunately this also coincided with Mike’s trip to Poland, which Mr. N did not let him forget. Admittedly it was a tough week for Mr. N. Nana and Papa returned to Florida, his show ended, daddy was around the world and school let out for the summer. That’s a lot of goodbyes (and some of them rather difficult) for a little guy within a matter of days. So we needed something to bust through the melancholy. butters

I took a few days off of work and we spent Mr. N’s birthday doing exactly what he wanted to do – playing with the neighbors. We also planned a backyard pizza party and birthday celebration for the night complete with all of his neighborhood friends. Now as is customary, Mr. N requested my Grandma’s cobbler for dessert; however, I know that not all kids are crazy about berries, so we saved the cobbler for the next day. Instead we went with our old stand by – Peanut Butter Bars. dry ingredients

We’ve been making the peanut butter bars for about four years now. They have been a hit with kids and grown-ups alike, and best of all they are easy to whip up. I will warn you though, that if you’re not a fan of peanut butter, these are not for you. I should also warn, that if you’re looking for a lower calorie dessert, these are also not for you. peanut butter mixtuer

The recipe is simple – mix together the butter, peanut butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Next incorporate the flour, salt and baking powder. Then, of course, there is also the mandatory batter sampling. batter

Now, we’re still not done with peanut butter. An entire package of peanut butter chips is also stirred into the mix. peanut butter chip

Half of the batter is then spread over the bottom of a baking dish. This part is a little tricky. As you begin to spread it doesn’t feel like it’s going to go far enough, but it has every time. peanut butter spread

Next is the kids’ favorite part – the chocolate chips! We’ve used dark chocolate and milk chocolate for this recipe and both have gone over well. For Mr. N’s birthday we used milk chocolate since it is likely to go over better with kids. Now, the original recipe on Hershey’s site uses chocolate syrup. It’s another route to go, and it makes a pretty marbled appearance, but we prefer the chips. chocolate chips

Once the chips are sprinkled over (notice I leave a little row plain for me since I’m an odd non-chocolate eater), the rest of the peanut butter mix is spread over the top. peanut butter baking

The bars bake at 350F for about 35 minutes. We usually under cook ours just a bit so that they are nice and soft and chewy. PB brownies

After the bars cool slightly, they are sliced and ready to serve. While these can be served any time, they are especially delightful straight out of the oven. Or in our case, right after a loud and energetic rendition of “Happy Birthday!” birthday boy

The dessert was a hit with most of the kids. We did have one that didn’t really like peanut butter, but we had some gelato available too (no one goes without dessert here!). The adults, on the other hand, did their fair share of devouring the little bars. peanut butter bars

Most importantly Mr. N was happy. He gave the bars 3-1/2 spoons. They still don’t come close to the cobbler though. He could barely wait to the next day to dig into that beauty. peanut butter chocolate bars

Mike and I both give the peanut butter bars 3 spoons. They are chewy and a definite peanut butter indulgence. I also like that they come together so easily and serve lots. That said, I too would rather have the cobbler. cookie bars

Miss A gives them 5 spoons (because 4 is not enough) and likes to make sure she gets a middle piece (who can blame her – they are the most chewy). chewy bars

Miss A’s favorite part of the night though – helping with clean-up. She ran around collecting crepe paper and became the “crepe paper mummy.” (Notice the cobbler cooling on the stove in the background – rather risky of me to leave that lying about with Mr. N on the prowl!) crepe paper mummy

Print this recipe: Peanut Butter Bars

It was a great party and I have to admit it was rather fun to be back in the kitchen again. Hopefully that will start to happen more often. As for the rest of Mr. N’s birthday week…well, we took a little trip to the country where we enjoyed the cobbler, then we took Grammie and BoomBoom to Mr. N’s favorite Italian restaurant because his birthday is not complete without a piece of Rose’s homemade cheesecake.

It was definitely a fun-filled (and dessert-filled) birthday week. I’d like to say that we’ll post again soon, but we have a few summer trips, another summer birthday and more camps starting up. I do have another recipe already queued up, so hopefully I’ll get that to you sooner rather than later. I think we’re also hoping to cook another dish from Poland and a few more from Spain to test our hand at a few favorites we enjoyed on our trips, but until then, I hope you are all enjoying the summer (or winter) season as much as we are right now! Cheers!

27 thoughts on “Birthday Baking

  1. Karen says:

    An entire birthday week sounds great and Mr. N’s sounds like fun. I would like the peanut butter bars but cobbler would be my favorite too. I’m glad he got both.


  2. Bam's Kitchen says:

    Happy Birthday to Mr. N and happy 14th anniversary to you. Life just gets busy sometimes so glad you could slow down and enjoy his b-day with some delicious bars. Take Care, BAM


  3. Three Well Beings says:

    My goodness but you have had a very busy time! I’m so pleased to see the beautiful photos of the children–they’re growing up! What a nice surprise to bring the cast of the play together for Mr. N’s birthday! I know that was very meaningful. I’m still quite curious to see what the future holds for him with his acting ability and dedicated interest. I’m sure that question runs through your mind, too, Mom! I think the peanut butter bars would really be a big hit around our house and I also do a lot of somewhat last minute baking for the college students who work in our office. This needs to be my “go to” recipe. I think you’re such a busy family that summer moves quickly, but I can definitely see that you put a lot of thought and attention into making each day special. It’s always so good to see you back to posting. I honestly don’t know how you do it all, Kristy! šŸ™‚


  4. Charles says:

    LOL at that last photo! Glad Mr. N had a good birthday – that first impromptu party sounds like it was a blast. I had no idea hubby was off to Poland (back now though, hence the “to and from”?) – work I guess? Did he eat anything nice there? They have some cool foods… maybe he found some good inspiration for a future family cooking destination?


  5. thecompletebook says:

    Wow, so much going on Kristy! Happy birthday Mr N – wow, 10! That seems to have rolled around very quickly.
    Have a wonderful summer and don’t worry, we will all still be here when you are ready.
    šŸ™‚ Mandy xo


  6. hotlyspiced says:

    You sound so busy. Happy birthday to your son, now 10 years old! What a milestone. I’m so glad the play finished up well. What a shame Mike had to be in Poland. I hope your kids are enjoying their summer break with lots of relaxing days playing with the neighbours xx


  7. Shakti Ghosal says:

    Those peanut butter bars look out of this world! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    I can see that you are creative in terms of your culinary expertise. What stops you from following this passion more often?



  8. Dawn says:

    If I hadn’t been so exhausted from having a 2 and 4 year old in the house since Wednesday, I would have definitely made these today, maybe next weekend…I am done!


  9. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    Heeheeh, love how Mr. N is holding on to that beater good and tight šŸ™‚ — isn’t it the best when birthdays expand into days and weeks… that’s how summer birthdays should be, especially when you’re turning double digits!! Congrats Mr. N. Despite some tough goodbyes, it sounds like you had a wonderful week with special visitors and lots of yummy desserts. I hope you and your family continue to enjoy all the great moments ahead this summer, xx.


  10. sallybr says:

    So many great reasons to celebrate! We are only 6 months ahead of you in the wedding thing… basically twins! šŸ˜‰

    Happy milestone Birthday to Mr. N, he is turning into quite a handsome teenager! Time goes by so fast, doesn’t it?


    • Kristy says:

      Time goes by insanely fast. I can hardly stand it. šŸ™‚ That’s right – we are almost anniversary twins. Next year is the big 15! I’m hoping we get something special in the works.


  11. A_Boleyn says:

    Congratulations on the successful run of Mr. N’s play and your anniversary. I’m not much of a peanut butter eater (other in a great sandwich with ham thickly sliced off the bone) but the bars do look tasty and sound easy to make.


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