I counted the days until Christmas and compared the result to the amount of items I would like to complete by the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Unsurprisingly, my calculations show a deficit in time and an abundance of tasks. Ah well, at least I am consistent!
I have a few new baking projects I would like to spend a couple day fiddling with but the lack of time means relying on a few oldies but goodies. After all, when it comes to holiday treats, don’t we prefer the sentimental favorites?
During my elementary school years people in Seattle dressed more formally for the office. My dad went to work wearing an pressed shirt, tie, and polished shoes that he covered with goofy looking waterproof over-shoes. He called them rubbers. That has nothing to do with the story but it makes me giggle.
Every morning Dad would get on the number 28 bus with his newspaper and sack lunch and ride into Downtown to go to work in one of the very tall buildings. I don’t know which one. He did stuff with computers. At a time when the world was still plugging away in “real time” his job sounded super amazing to my 8 year old ears. Around Christmas, as with most offices, it was customary for employees to bring in a confection to share. Every year we would enthusiastically begin work on a double, or tripple, batch of sugar cookies. Making the dough is fun. Rolling and cutting the first cookies is a delight. However, by 9 pm, with only half the dough baked, and a mere dozen frosted, even an 8 year old starts to get a tension headache. As much as we all liked the idea of homemade sugar cookies, they are a tremendous amount of work for 30 seconds of chewing.
Some years, while we rolled and cut cookies, Dad would throw together a big pan of Peanut Butter bars.
For the frazzled Christmas Elf, a no-bake bar cookie is a lifesaver. These treats are a lot less work, for a much more indulgent reward. Head-to-head against the sugar cookies, I preferred Peanut Butter Bars. Not to be confused with my favorite of ALL no-bake bars, the Nanaimo Bar, Peanut Butter Bars come in a close second. After starting my weight loss journey I had to pick and choose my Christmas goodies, almost all peanut butter confections were off my menu.
This year I have found a way to add peanut butter bars back into my selection of Christmas treats. Chocolate Peanut Butter Graham Bars are childhood memories meets weight loss friendly dessert. These super easy no-bake bars are everything I love about Dad’s bars and the best part is they have about 250 less calories per piece! Hooray!
- ½ cup natural creamy peanut butter (the ingredients should include only peanuts & a pinch of salt)
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 6 graham crackers, quartered (24 small rectangles)
- 1 cup of chocolate chips, melted
- ½ tsp unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
- coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- In a small bowl, blend the peanut butter, and powdered sugar. It should be a thick spreadable paste. If needed add a touch of water to thin or peanut butter to thicken.
- Spread a thin layer of the peanut mixture over each graham and place on a cookie sheet in the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes.
- Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water (DIY double boiler). Chocolate may also be melted slowly in the microwave. Heat on high for 15 seconds, stir and repeat until smooth.
- Dip grahams peanut butter side down into the melted chocolate. Allow some of the excess to drip off. Place dipped grahams on a cookie sheet to cool. Repeat until all the grahams are covered. Sprinkle each coated graham with a few grains of sea salt.
- Refrigerate the Chocolate Peanut Butter Grahams for at least an hour or until the chocolate has hardened. Once the chocolate is hard store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.
No PB2: Use ½ cup of peanut butter and 1 tsp of cocoa powder – this will affect the the nutritional information.