The other day, I mentioned that my blog had just become four years old. During those four years, I’ve visited lots of other blogs and seen lots of fabulous food. I’ve always enjoyed reading about the results of the different baking and cooking groups that show dishes from Dorie Greenspan’s books. I never got around to joining the groups since I knew I’d somehow manage to miss every deadline for posts, but every time I see a dish chosen by the groups, I can’t wait to try it. I think about that every time I open one of Dorie’s books. So, at last, I’ve baked the Chocolate-Oatmeal Almost Candy Bars from Baking: From My Home to Yours. Even though I’ve seen these bars on other blogs in the past, I didn’t quite realize what they're really like. These cookie bars are serious business. They’re crunchy, chewy, chocolaty, nutty, and delicious. Cutting these into small pieces is a good idea since they are filling, but I think they’re actually better than a candy bar. Dorie recommends serving them cold which keeps the layers firm, and I agree.
These bars are baked in a nine- by thirteen-inch baking pan, and the recipe makes a lot of cookies once they’re cut into small pieces. The bars can be frozen and thawed in the refrigerator. You start by making the oatmeal layer which becomes both the bottom surface and the crumble on top of the cookies. That’s made by creaming butter with brown sugar, then adding eggs and vanilla. Flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon are added next, and then oats and chopped peanuts are stirred into the dough. A couple of cups of dough are set aside, and the rest is pressed into the buttered baking pan. The chocolate layer was next, and that was made by melting chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk, butter, and salt in the top of a double-boiler. Once melted, vanilla, raisins, and peanuts were added. The chocolate mixture was poured over the oatmeal layer in the baking pan, and the remaining oatmeal dough was scattered on top. The bars baked for about 30 minutes, were cooled, and then refrigerated before cutting.
It’s delightful knowing I have a stash of these bars in the freezer. They’re there for me any time I need a candy bar or cookie fix. They work for both kinds of cravings. And, when they run out, I’ll have to move on to something else I've read so much about over the last few years.