This week, I chose a recipe that doesn’t originate from my family. When my mother was in grade school, there was a woman by the name of Rose Doak who worked in the cafeteria and was beloved by the children for the baked goods that she would make. One of her recipes for peanut butter squares had specifically stuck out to my mom. When my great-aunt, who had been very close to my mother, was told about the squares, she immediately tried to replicate them. Try as she might, however, she was unable to make them quite like they were made at the elementary school. It became evident that my great-aunt would not be able to duplicate the recipe on her own accord.
Fortunately, everyone in my town was on a first-name basis, just as you’d see in any small town depicted on the silver screen. When asked, Mrs. Doak was happy to share her recipe with my family, and now I have the privilege of sharing its heart-stopping action with you, fellow Jumbos.
In retrospect, it’s quite humorous how elusive these peanut butter squares had been for my great-aunt, as they are actually quite easy to make. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt together 2 sticks of butter and 1 1/2 cups of peanut butter. You’re going to want to do this step first because the two ingredients will need time to cool before being added to the rest of the dessert.
In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup of raisins and 1 cup of shredded coconut. Try to make sure that the raisins and coconut distribute evenly throughout the liquid ingredients. Once the butter and peanut butter combo are cooled to approximately room temperature, pour them into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Now set the batter aside while we prepare the baking pan in which they will be housed.
Spread additional shredded coconut across the bottom of a 9-by-13 pan, creating an even layer. You can be generous with the coconut here, as this is what gives the squares their hearty texture. With a spoon, distribute the peanut butter batter into large hills across the pan. Your goal is to spread the mixture evenly, which can be difficult because the coconut likes to move around and stick to the batter, rather than the container. I find that several smaller mounds of dough are much easier to control than one big pile.
Once the mixture has been spread, sprinkle more shredded coconut on the top, creating a second layer. Press down on the squares lightly with a fork. This helps to ensure that the squares hold their shape. Now simply place the treats in a fridge to cool. They should take about two hours to harden. Once they have cooled, you’re all set to indulge! Happy baking!