PB and J Oat Crumble Bars Recipe (+ nut free version)

PB & J Oat Crumble Bars - Epicuricloud

2,160 peanut butter & jelly sandwiches...

My poor Mom, she made me a PB&J almost every day of elementary, middle and high school.  She must have been sick to death of smearing peanut butter and globbing grape jelly onto that 1970's era not-so-soft whole wheat bread. (and why didn't I offer to make my own? - argh, sorry Mom!)  I should be sick-to-death of peanut butter and jelly at this point in my life, but alas, I still do crave that classic salty and sweet combo (smooth pb and strawberry or apricot jam on soft whole wheat bread, please.)

PB & J Oat Crumble Bars - epicuricloud 2

I especially crave it at this time of year - must be the convergence of autumn and freshly tuned-up school busses.  Add that craving to the oatmeal cookie thoughts that have been swirling in my brain lately...and here you go...mmm...PB&J Oat Crumble Bars!  Oh and if you don't like or can't do peanut butter - swap out for (nut free) cookie butter!  My testers couldn't decide which version they liked better.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

PB&J Oat Crumble Bars: Step-by-Step Directions

PB&J Oat Crumble Bars Recipe:

Christina Verrelli – epicuricloud.com
Makes 12-24 (depending how large you cut them)
Prep. Time 20 minutes
Bake Time 25 minutes


Non-stick spray or butter for greasing pan
½ cup softened butter
1 cup peanut butter or cookie butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup cold water
2 cups quick oats
13-ounces preserves, jam or jelly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 13” x 9” x 2” pan.  If desired, create a sling to lift bars from pan when cool, by lining pan with 2 layers aluminum foil that overhang the long sides of the pan.  Grease the foil.

With mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars.  In a medium bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.  Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until just combined.  With mixer running on low, sprinkle in cold water and then add the oats.  The dough should be crumbly.

Press about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the pan.  Spread the jam over the base.  Use your hands to press the remaining dough into crumbles and place them on the jam.  Sprinkle any loose crumbs and crumbles over jam layer.  

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crumbles are golden brown and the jam is bubbly.  Cool completely and loosen any stuck edges with a sharp knife or thin spatula.  If using a foil sling, gently lift to cutting board.  Cut into desired size bars.

Printable Recipe Link: PB&J Oat Crumble Bars

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PB and J Oat Crumble Bars Collage - epicuricloud

Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me!  Let me know if you like peanut butter or cookie butter better?  Tina ( :

Pope-n' Fresh Parmesan Breadsticks


Living in the suburban Philadelphia area, we are gearing up for Pope Francis' visit.  Excitement is building, and we're not quite sure what kind of impact it's going to have on our local area as we live right along the train line that will be transporting folks to and from center city.  So we're hanging local and honoring His Eminence with a little block party - Pope-a-Palooza!  

I needed a quick idea for something to bring - and this popped (ha!) in my head...Pope-n' Fresh Breadsticks.  I think they're fun and will be tasty served with some marinara sauce.  

Pope-n' Fresh Parmesan Breadsticks Recipe:

Christina Verrelli - epicuricloud.com

Makes 24 breadsticks


2 cans Pillsbury refrigerated breadstick dough

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line baking sheets with parchment or spray with non-stick spray.

Pop open breadstick cans, unroll and separate breadsticks.  Cut 1 third from the length of the breadstick.

Twist the smaller section and press onto baking sheet.  Twist and align the longer piece to form a cross and press where they crossover.

Repeat with all other breadsticks.

Beat together egg and milk to make egg wash.

Brush breadsticks with egg wash and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for about 13 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with marinara, if desired.

Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake Recipe

Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake @epicuricloud.com

Hello Bundt Cake! I'm glad we're friends again...

Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake Slice @epicuricloud.com

Quite a few of my previous Bundt cake efforts have ended up in flow-over/smoke-up-the-kitchen incidents and many, many stuck-to-the-pan cake crumble disasters.  I almost gave up on Bundt cakes altogether, but I sure am glad I didn't cause this triple chocolatey cake sure was worth the wait!!  It's moist and rich and full of chocolate flavor without being too heavy or dense.  In my second test of the recipe, I decided more glaze is better and I doubled it...couldn't you just slide down that glaze waterfall into the puddle of chocolatey goodness at the bottom...

Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake w/cherries @epicuricloud.com

The cake pairs really well with juicy fresh fruit and whipped cream.  I served it with summer cherries for my Mother-in-Law's birthday.  YUM!

Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake - epicuricloud

The recipe is a chocolate chip studded and resized version of the chocolate batter from my Oreo Upside-Down Sheet Cake recipe.  It's my new go-to chocolate cake batter.  I've learned that baking spray (with flour) is very handy with preparing your Bundt cake pan as it really lubricates all the nooks and crannies to help prevent "stickage."  I'm so glad Bundt cakes and I are now on better terms as I love the unfussy nature of Bundt cake. 

Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake Step-by-Step Photos:

Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake Recipe:
Christina Verrelli – epicuricloud.com
Prep. Time: 20 minutes Bake Time: 50-55 minutes Serves about 15-18 

Non-stick baking spray with flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2/3 cup boiling water
1 cup buttermilk* 
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs, room temperature 

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (the remaining butter from the cake)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
¼ cup milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange oven rack to lower third position.  Place a baking sheet on the oven rack (will help Bundt pan to sit level in oven)  Spray 12-15 cup Bundt pan with non-stick baking spray with flour.

In heatproof bowl combine cocoa, ½ cup chocolate chips and espresso powder. Pour in boiling water and stir until mixture is melted and smooth. Allow to cool, then stir in buttermilk. In medium bowl stir together flour, salt and baking soda. 

Using stand mixer with flat beater or hand mixer, cream on medium speed butter, granulated sugar and light brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla, then beat in eggs one at a time. Lower speed and mix in the following ingredients until just combined: 1/3 of the flour mixture, then ½ the chocolate mixture, 1/3 of the flour mixture. Scrape bowl.  Then add the rest of the chocolate mixture and the rest of the flour mixture.  Stir in the remaining cup chocolate chips. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few crumbs. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes. Place a cake platter over the pan and invert to release cake onto the platter.
Whisk or use mixer to make glaze. Stir together butter, cocoa and half the confectioners’ sugar, then stir in milk.  Add the rest of the sugar and stir until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cake when still slightly warm. 

*Note: to make your own buttermilk. Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to a 1 cup measuring cup. Fill the measuring cup with milk. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes. 

Printable Recipe Link: Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake

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Chocolate Buttermilk Bundt Cake - Epicuricloud.com

Thank you for spending some time in the cloud with me!  

I hope you love the cake! ( :  Tina