This past week, my youngest started her senior year of high school - What?????? When did she grow up? My husband says that our daughter and I are exactly alike - she's got a healthy dose of my stubborn side. I say she is more like him as she is witty, sarcastic, sporty, and academically smart like him. She and I don't have much in common when it comes to school. My favorite classes were Foods 101, Home Economics and working in the cafeteria. Her favorites are Creative Writing, Lacrosse, and Orchestra. She even mentioned she enjoyed Physics once or twice - a class you could not pay me to understand or enjoy! But the two of us do have one thing in common - we like to eat. She's not much on the school cafeteria food, never thought it was worth the cost or the time waiting in line. I, on the other hand. loved our cafeteria food. Everything was scratch-made each morning. Nothing was brought in. I lived on pretty much the same thing for lunch every day. A hot ham and cheese pocket (remember, scratch-made), a chocolate milkshake and a peanut butter chew bar for dessert. Before you leave a comment about how unhealthy those choices are, remember, I was also a teenager.
I still remember the year I got to work in the cafeteria for extra school credits. My job was to cut and bag those freshly baked peanut butter treats while they were still warm to ensure they stayed chewy. The only thing I could kick myself over is that I never got the recipe for them.
Thanks to the internet and Facebook reunion sites, I found out that I was not the only one in my school who loved those bars. One of the former students had gotten the recipe and posted it. Right off I noticed that some of the measurements were off (1/4 cup of Vanilla? I went with 1/4 Tsp.) so I made a couple of adjustments without ruining the integrity of the recipe. After one bite, I was instantly transformed back to the halls of high school.
I'm not sure what memories will stand out the most for my daughter this year, but I'm fairly certain food, whether it be on campus or at home, will always give her good memories. I'm jus' sayin'!
Peanut Butter Chews adapted from the original cafeteria recipe of John Muir Junior High School by a fellow alumni student Juaquina Thorpe Twidwell
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. flour (sifted)
3 T. butter
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1. Mix dry ingredients together.
2. Cream in butter and eggs.
3. Add peanut butter, flour and vanilla.
4. Mix just enough to blend all ingredients (do not over-mix).
5. Put mixture in a parchment lined square 8x8 cake pan. Press down with fingers to make level. Make sure mixture is well into corners.
6. Bake 375° for about 13 minutes or until golden in color.
7. Chews will be quite soft when removed from oven but will firm up as they cool.
8. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
9. Cut while still warm into squares.