Saturday, September 18, 2010

Getting Organized and Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

This whole college thing is pretty demanding.

I probably sound surprised at this fact. ("What? I actually have to work harder now than in high school?!") However, I assure you that I was fully aware that Georgia Tech would challenge me more than I've ever been challenged before. Four weeks in, I can safely say that I've been tested in more ways than I originally thought: academically, socially, mentally, and physically. A lot's happened, and I won't bore you with the specifics, but rest assured that I am comfortably settling in. It (and by "it" I mean "everything") is an adjustment, but every day is easier, even if the calculus seems to be getting harder.

One of the things I've had to change has been my organizational habits. In high school, I didn't keep an agenda or calendar, unless you count the one in my head. My assignments and activities never became so overwhelming that I lost track, but last week I gave in and bought an agenda.

It's so official. Anyway, it's been very helpful keeping everything in line: tests, papers, studying, weekend stuff, you name it. An extra perk: it gives me peace of mind. Somehow writing all this stuff down makes the long list of things to do seem less imposing and stressful.

Nevertheless, this upcoming week is a busy one. On the agenda:

Monday: My first newspaper article due to the Entertainment Editor of the Technique. Stay tuned for news on that front.
Wednesday: My first Calculus test of the semester. I'd really appreciate it if you could some good vibes my way during the 9 am hour.
Thursday: Grey's returns!!!!!!!!!!! Note my excitement, as I rarely use more than one exclamation point.

But onto the food. You certainly didn't expect anything less, right? I know these posts are becoming few and far between, but my opportunities to cook have also been infrequent. Of course, that means that my "foodgawking" (or "photograzing" or "tastespotting") has been going into overdrive. In non-foodie speak, that would translate to "I've been stalking food blogs more intensely than ever before." In fact, I finally succumbed (again) and began a formal bookmarking system for all my recipes. These bookmarks have been steadily accumulating for about two weeks, and I'm so excited to share them with anyone willing to listen (you all, perhaps?).

The largest (and my personal favorite) folder in the bunch is the "Thanksgiving and Christmas" folder. It's only September 18, and I'm already thinking about the desserts I'll make this Thanksgiving. It seems crazy to be thinking about Thanksgiving now (or even a few months ago, when I actually started to), especially when it regularly hits 85 degrees here, but I can't help myself. I can't wait to see this campus during the fall, when everything looks beautiful. But, until then, I'll leave you with a recipe for a treat our floor cooked up last night.
A few of us while we baked last night (left to right): Me, Chen, Audrey, Mercedes, Sarah

Once again, the recipe was a bit unorganized, but it ended turning out really great. I've adapted it a bit here to reflect our changes (and ones that I would make in the future), but in the end these are totally foolproof and absolutely delicious.

No-Bake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bars

When we made these last night, we melted the chocolate along with the butter, instead of adding the butter to the crust mixture. It ended up being perfectly fine; we just added more peanut butter to the graham crackers and powdered sugar to moisten it. The original amount of butter was actually 9 tablespoons, but that extra tablespoon seems pretty useless to me, so I've omitted it here. Honestly, you could probably halve the butter and these would still be wonderful (you just may need to add some more peanut butter). You can melt the chocolate chips either in the microwave or in a double boiler.

Yield: About 50 1 1/2-inch squares

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, peanut butter, and melted butter. Using a hand-mixer (or old-fashioned elbow grease), beat until the mixture forms moist clumps. Press the crust mixture into two square 8-inch pans (using your fingers or the bottom of a measuring cup).

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips. If you opt to use the microwave, microwave in 30-second bursts at 50% power, stirring throughout. To use the double boiler method, bring a saucepan of water to a simmer and place the chocolate in a glass bowl set on top of the saucepan. Make sure the bottom of the glass bowl doesn't touch the water. Stir often until the chocolate melts.

Once the chocolate is melted, divide it evenly among the two pans, pouring it over the crust. Refrigerate until the chocolate is hardened. Cut into squares (about 25 per pan).
As you can tell, we all really liked them.


  1. yummmm.... and love the photos!!!! (I've never been known to use just one exclamation point when several will do just fine :-)

  2. That's a great photo of you and your fellow cooks! Peanut butter + chocolate = delicious!

  3. love that you've included a photo of your dorm mates-the dessert looks yummy, i don't think you can wrong with chocolate and peanut butter. great advise on the butter, who wants to break into another stick for 1T? AND it's never to early to plan holiday menus-i've already started on my cooking time line.