Monday, December 20, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars


Today is going to be a very good day. I know, this is a surprising thing to say on a Monday. However, this is the last day of work before I head home for the holidays. Winter lab shut-down, such a great time of year. This year will be especially sweet for me and my lab mates because we have all been working very, very hard. The past few weeks have been very crazy. If it were a day of the week that ended in ‘day,’ we were in the lab.

My friends out there who have been to grad school, or are currently in grad school, should understand this perfectly. Those of you who thought it was a good idea to get your PhD in the sciences, you know. When I signed on to go to grad school I didn’t realize that I was giving up my free-time/life for the next five years. Seven years now if you include my postdoctoral training! Luckily I like what I’m doing. If you are considering graduate school, or your PhD, consider how much you like other things. You know, fun things. Things that include going outside in the daylight. Things that include seeing people who don’t work in the same room as you do. Are you that dedicated? If so, c’mon in! Grad school is great!

If you’ve chosen to pursue your graduate degree, don’t worry. You’ll be coming to grad school with many like-minded people. Depending on your field will of course determine the number of “normal” people you’ll meet. In the hard sciences it goes this way, in order of increasing weirdness. Biologists, biochemists, chemist, physicists. Sorry physicists, you know you’re a little strange.


So, you’ll see that I put myself pretty high on the oddness scale. Don’t worry about me, I’m not that much of a weirdo and luckily neither are my lab mates. They are some pretty wonderful people, which helps with the fact that I see them approximately 60 hours a week (on a slow week). Today is the last day I have to see these people for almost two weeks. This is a good thing, because we are all running out of things to say to each other. We also think that punching each other is a good idea these days.

To avoid getting punched today, I’m plying my lab mates with sweets. Here are some peanut butter bars lab mates! Please, don’t punch me in the face.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
Adapted from Fat Witch Brownies

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter (cheap stuff, like JIF)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp butter (room temperature)
1 ¼ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with cooking spray and sprinkle with flour, be sure all the surface is floured and tap out excess.

In a large mixing bowl crack eggs and beat a little with a whisk. Add sugars and whisk well. Add peanut butter and mix until combined. Add vanilla and butter. Be sure everything is well combined.

Sift in flour, baking powder and salt. Switch to a wooden spoon and mix well. Pour into prepared pan. You’ll probably need to use a spatula to spread the batter evenly, since it flows more like cookie dough than batter. Smooth top and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Use spatula and press down chips into the dough.

Bake for 35 minutes (8x8) or 25 minutes (9x9) or until a toothpick poked into the cake comes out with only crumbs, no wet batter. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for a full hour. Remove from the pan and cut into bars! 12 or 16 bars if you feel like being proper. 9 bars if you are trying to not get punched in the face by your coworkers.
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