Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookie Bars and August Cooking Club

If you aren't in a cooking club, you really ought to look into it.  I feel fat and happy after each monthly meeting and I leave with some great recipes and some tricks of the trade.

Our August cooking club theme was a 'Pinterest night' and was hosted by Diane.  Where do you even start with that?  There are so many options.  I cheated a little and chose dessert.  I mean, dessert is the easiest part of any cooking club (to me), but it is really effortless on 'Pinterest night'.

such a pretty table at diane's house

the napkins and tablecloth were from Afghanistan...where her and her husband taught; so unique!
I chose to make two desserts.  Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookie Bars and gluten-free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk cookies that you can find here.  As you know, I am serious about peanut butter.  

The Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk cookies were a hit, even to the gluten eating women.  I agree, I might like them more than regular cookies.

Now, onto the star of the show.  The Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookie Bars I found over at inside brucrew life were good.  How could these not be a slam dunk...peanut butter, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, cream cheese.  Yum.  

Well, it wasn't as slam dunkish as I thought at first.  As I brought out the pan of bars after an amazing cooking club dinner that included a yummy cucumber appetizer, parmesan chicken, corn and avocado salad, potato and bacon dish, and passion lemonade tea, I couldn't cut them.  I really couldn't cut them.  I kept thinking...it's okay, the cookies will suffice.  As I tried two different knives, I finally got a serrated one to cut through.  Thank goodness.  I was still a bit worried, as hard bars are never a good thing.  It turned out that being in the refrigerator just made the bars a bit hard, but didn't affect the taste.  They were scrumptious, the cream cheese middle being the best part.  These bars are tall and thick, making it easy to have just a small piece.  Well, maybe not.

Please don't shy away from these bars because of the 'hardness'.  It's actually not a bad thing and you will not regret the time and effort spent on this recipe.  

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cookie Bars


Cookie dough
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup chocolate chunks or chocolate chips

1 8 ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

1.  Cream butter, shortening, and sugars until fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, salt, baking soda and cream again.  Slowly add flour.  Stir in chips and/or chunks by hand. Press half the dough into an 8 inch pan.
2.  In another bowl beat cream cheese and sugar until creamy.  Add egg and peanut butter.  Beat until smooth then pour on top of cookie crust.
3.  Press small pieces of cookie dough on top of cream cheese layer.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Remove and let cool completely.  Cut in bars NOW!
4.  Combine chips and shortening.  Heat in microwave at 30 second increments until mixture can be stirred smooth.  Spoon into plastic bag, cut corner off and drizzle on bars.  Store bars in refrigerator.  

Thanks for another wonderful cooking club girls...I can't wait until next month!
one of the ten pictures my camera took

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