Diary of a Non-Cook(ie) Party

Another December, another yearly tradition.

I introduced you to our Cookie Party tradition in 2016, but Lil and I have been attending it for over two decades. It’s been going on for three to four decades, from what I’m told. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it happened again this year. 

I wanted to make something, but the party landed on a very busy weekend. The night before, the Guidette and I hosted our holiday party. I knew we’d be up late and tired from all the shenannegins of throwing a party. To be fair, I didn’t do much, she did most of it. I was just there co-hosting, like a good tenant 😉

You know exactly where I went, straigh to trusty ‘ol Pinterest. This search was brought to you by the following words: five, ingredients, cookie bars. I wanted to make something EASY and I didn’t want to have to portion cookies either. Also, I was in a time crunch, becuase I had an eyelash appointment on the same day as cookie party, so I wanted to be efficient. Sharing two ovens with five (plus) women is already hard enough.

My search resulted in this pin for Five-ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Magic Bars, which ultimately originally came from the Kitchen Gidget blog. It is exactly what I was looking for. I added it to my Cookie Party board to make sure I had it saved. Of course, I didn’t have most of the ingredients, so after dinner with my parents one evening, we stopped by Trader Joe’s so I could get the rest.

Does anyone really need organic condensed milk, coming in at a hot $2.99? NO, but that’s all TJs had, so I bought it! But they didn’t have the peanut butter chips, so I still had to run to Target to swoop some. Oddly enough, peanut butter chips aren’t as readily available as I assumed they would be. Butterscotch, yes. PB, no. But there was a Nestle bag mixed with PB and chocolate chips, so I bought that too. Apparently, there are Reese’s pieces branded bags that are PB, but I didn’t buy any. I did glance at it, but I didn’t really read what they were. We had a stick of butter at home, so that was the only item I had on hand.

Along with this tradition are a few other traditions hidden in it. Every year Tracey makes her famous chili in a huge crockpot and ALWAYS has shredded cheese, onions, and Fritos too. Also, someone always makes pigs in a blanket, appetizer style, too. So, of course, these were in attendance as well. I brought chips, guac, and salsa with cream cheese (don’t knock it until you try it). There were tons of other delicious appetizers as well.

This tradition has grown and within the last few years Joy has also invited more of our extended family to the gathering as well. None of the aunts that come, actually bake. Or they pre-bake and bring them to share. Just like Ellen used too. We all miss her presence so much, especially on this day.

The hardest part of my recipe was crunching the graham crackers…and that wasn’t even hard. My bars were so easy to make. The only thing I’d change for the next time is not use an entire can of condensed milk…OR add more graham crackers. Either way would work.

While baking, they didn’t look like they were becoming bars. I set the timer for 25 minutes, but when that was done they didn’t seem finished. So I let them go another five minutes. The edges seemed to get really crispy, but overall the bars seemed to still be quite squishy. I let the bars cool for a very long time. They were gooey and chewy. They tasted as sweet as you’d imagine AND were a hit with everyone.

I can’t believe how easy they were to make. And they tasted so good if you can handle straight sugar! Overall, I’d totally make these again. They are messy to cut and eat, but taste oh so delicious!

A tradition that will be everlasting…

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