For anyone who has eliminated peanut butter from their home or other nut butters due to their child's peanut allergy or tree nut allergy, but who still craves it once in awhile, this recipe is for you. Using a peanut butter substitute in place of traditional peanut butter, these squares are so good. I found a similar recipe using Snickers candy bars and I thought--why not SunButter and chocolate chips instead? It turned out to be a good experiment and they have become a family fave.
I used the new Hershey brand "Baking Melts" in this recipe for a change of pace from chocolate chips and may I just say: Yum! The large chocolate discs stay soft and melty and are really delicious. A word about Hershey: they will mark their products for "may contains" and shared equipment. If you need more info, they recommend you call them. I've called them many times, use their products and feel comfortable doing so. As always, what product you use is totally up to you! I would also suggest using Enjoy Life Foods nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free and dairy-free mega chocolate chunks in these squares, or any of your favorite chips.
I've heard from so many of you that your husband or other family members have given up peanut butter at home (my DH has, too) so this would be a nice sweet treat to bake up for Father's Day. (But of course, they're good any time.)
One word of warning: these dessert/snack squares are NOT low-cal and they are addictive. But they have oatmeal in them, so they can't be all bad, right? Ok, you've been warned. :)
For those of you avoiding sunflower seed butter for allergy reasons, of course soy butter would work in this recipe. If you don't like to use peanut butter substitutes altogether, then why not treat Dad to my other reader favorite recipe? Big Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies
Nut-Free Mom's No Nuts "Peanut Butter" Chocolate Crumble Squares
1/2- 3/4cup (or more to taste) SunButter (TM) sunflower seed butter or soy butter
1/2 cup (or more to taste) of your favorite nut-free semi-sweet chocolate chips, chunks or baking melts. (I use Hershey or Enjoy Life)
2 sticks of butter or dairy-free (or regular) margarine, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I use McCormick)
1 tsp baking soda (Arm & Hammer)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar (I use Dominos's)
1 - 1/4 cup oats, uncooked (I use Quaker Oats)
2 cups all-purpose flour (I use Gold Medal)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with baking spray (I use Pam with flour or regular Pam). In a large saucepan or in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter or margarine. Remove the pan from the heat (or microwave) and stir in the flour, baking soda, oats, brown sugar and vanilla until completely blended and crumbly.
Press about 2/3 of this mixture into your prepared pan. Alternate scoops of SunButter (I use a small ice cream scoop) and scatter your chocolate pieces evenly in the pan, about 1/2 inch from the edge of the pan. If you like, smooth out the scoops of SunButter a bit for a more even amount in each bite. (I usually do this.)
Crumble the rest of the oatmeal mixture evenly on top. Bake for 22-25 minutes until the edges are golden brown, then cool the pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars or squares to serve.
Makes 24 bars.
Please note: You and your allergist are the best judges of what to serve your child. Any questions about whether or not the foods in this recipe are appropriate for your situation, please call your doctor. For product questions, please contact companies directly. Thank you!