Peach Cream Bars

Is it kind of crazy to have a summery peachy recipe in September? Maybe. But as long as the temperature is in the 80s and 90s -- which it has been consistently for every single day of the past 2 or 3 weeks -- you can't seriously convince me that it's autumn.

As it turns out, the weather has also been been a surprising impediment to my new goal of outdoor running. I only recently decided that I liked running, but only under very specific conditions. Most importantly, the temperature must be in the 50s or 60s. Cold weather is fine, but anything higher than the too hot. I'm not particularly keen on sweating through every pore of my body by the end of a run. Actually, I prefer to avoid sweating altogether, if it were possible. Which is probably why figure skating and I got along so well -- no sweat! (Ooh, punny.)

So these Peach Cream Bars are a product of my denial of summer's end and my eternal love of peaches, seasons notwithstanding. In fact, I like peaches so much that I'm almost reluctant to use them in baking because they taste so great just by themselves! Still, I'm happy to have saved up a couple peaches to use in this fabulous recipe.

During my research days last summer, Mondays were a highlight not just because of lab meeting but also because Julie would bring in a fabulous dessert dish for all of us to munch on during the meetings. One day, she brought in this peach coffee cake, and it was honestly the best. In a way, these Peach Cream Bars are inspired from her. Generous slices of juicy peach between an oatmeal cookie-like crust and topping, with vanilla glaze finishing. There's just the right amount of peach filling so that each bite is satisfyingly soft and chewy, refreshingly peachy with hints of cinnamon oatmeal from the crust and topping.


Peach Cream Bars | Pass the Cocoa

Peach Cream Bars

From Sally’s Baking Addiction   |   Time: 1 hour   |   Yield: 12 servings


Crust & Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats or quick oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold & cubed

Peach Filling:
1 egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 peaches, peeled & chopped (about 1.5 cups)

Vanilla Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons heavy cream or milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8 x 8 inch pan with aluminum foil, with overhang for easy removal.

For the crust/topping: Whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in cold butter using food processor or manually until coarse, pea-sized crumbs. Set aside 3/4 cup of this mixture for topping. Evenly press remaining oat mixture onto bottom of baking pan and bake for 15 minutes as you prepare filling.

For the filling: Whisk egg & sugar, then add flour and salt. Fold in peaches. Remove crust from oven after 15 minutes and pour filling over hot crust. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture. Bake for 30 - 32 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then chill in refrigerator for 2 hours before cutting into squares.

For the vanilla glaze: Using fork or spoon, stir powdered sugar, milk/heavy cream, and vanilla together until smooth. Drizzle over each square. Serve & enjoy!

Store in tightly sealed container in refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Carmelitas {Mystery Dish Challenge}

Trust me when I say these are the most delicious cookie bars ever. Carmelitas are a heavenly combination of gooey caramel and half-melted chocolate chips sandwiched in between oatmeal cookie crumbs. It's practically impossible to eat these by hand. You'll need the help of a fork and napkin, and a very strong will to control yourself from eating everything in sight.

This month, I am guest posting for the Mystery Dish Challenge. Basically, it's a monthly challenge hosted by Dani Carroll from See Hubby Cook in which 12 bloggers create a dish of their fancy, choosing a couple ingredients out of a list of 8 - 10. For these carmelitas, I chose chocolate and cream.

Admittedly, Carmelitas are rich and gooey, so I wouldn't recommend making every day...But it's nice to treat yourself to some once in a while, especially during these polar vortex days. Northwestern doesn't believe in canceling school, even if it drops 20 degrees below zero and the high is zero. Frostbite shuttles are my new best friend.

Here's how you make the Carmelitas.

First, melt the butter. Add vanilla to it. Then add brown sugar. Then add flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.

Hand mix it all together nice and good until it's a crumbly mixture. It may be appear moist at first because of the melted butter, but after letting it sit, it'll take on a more crumbly texture.

Press half of the oatmeal cookie mixture onto the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan (I used a 9 inch circular cake pan, and it worked perfectly well.). While this bakes for 10 minutes, melt the caramel and heavy cream mixture. Alternatively, you may make homemade caramel sauce. I went the shortcut way because it's faster.

Here's the caramel sauce, all melted and ready. And just in time! The bottom layer of the Carmelitas is ready. See the nice and golden edges?

Get those chocolate chips ready. I used a combination of milk chocolate and semi-sweet.

Add the caramel sauce and sprinkle the remaining oatmeal cookie crumbs on top. Beautiful.

And here's the finished product. The hard part is waiting for it cool enough to slice.

Serve and enjoy at room temperature, with a tall glass of cold milk!





Adapted from Lulu the Baker
Yield: 12 servings | Time: 45 minutes


For Caramel Sauce:
32 caramel squares, unwrapped
1/2 cup heavy cream

Note: Alternatively, you may use 1 ¼ cup homemade or store-bought caramel sauce.

For the Oatmeal Cookie Layer:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

For the Oatmeal Cookie Layer:

Melt the butter, and then add vanilla to it. Then add brown sugar, flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Mix by hand until combined. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan. 9 inch circular pan works too. (If using a 9 x 13 inch pan, simply double the recipe and adjust the baking time.)

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

For Caramel Sauce:
Meanwhile, use microwave to heat caramels and heavy cream in 30-second intervals, stirring well after each interval until melted and smooth. Alternatively, you may combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until completely melted and smooth. Set aside.

Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Pour caramel sauce over chocolate chips. Then crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the caramel layer.

Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 15 - 20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting. Store in air-tight container, and serve at room temperature. Enjoy!


Here are the rest of the bloggers participating in January's Mystery Dish Challenge, if you're interested in checking them out!

1.  Carmelitas by Pass the Cocoa

2.  Strawberry Champagne Cupcake Trifles by The Dessert Chronicles

3.  Strawberry Orange Stuffed French Toast by I Dig Pinterest

4.  Strawberry Orange Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips by Joyful Healthy Eats

5.  Chocolate Strawberry Pudding by See Hubby Cook

6.  Chocolate Doughnuts with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing by Chez CateyLou

7.  Champorado (Filipino Chocolate Rice Pudding) by The Pajama Chef

8.  Whole Wheat Orange Scones with Vanilla Cream Glaze by The Well Floured Kitchen

9.  Chocolate-Filled Cream Puffs with Strawberry Sauce by Culinary Couture

10.  Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes

by Yummy Healthy Easy

11.  Chocolate Covered Strawberry Milkshake by I Want Crazy

12.  Strawberry Rose Chocolate Verrines by Baking a Moment