I found this recipe in my copy of “Joy of Cooking” a long time ago, when I was leafing through the cookie section to find inspiration. They were spectacular – full of brown sugar, oats and chocolate. We now make them most years to include in our Christmas cookie tins, and I pull them out when I need a dessert to feed a crowd. I immediately thought of them when I was picking recipes to bake for our upcoming family reunion.
I realized that I could simplify things by microwaving the filling, instead of cooking it on the stovetop as in the original recipe. It worked beautifully, and saved washing the pan, since I could put the bowl in the dishwasher. Other than that, and changing the directions just a bit, the recipe is the same as the original. It was just too good to need any adaptations. Enjoy!
Chocolate Oat Bars
From Joy of Cooking
Adapted slightly by The Cook’s Life
Makes about 60 bars, depending on size
Crust and topping:
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and brown sugar until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Mix together flour, baking soda, salt and oats. Add to butter mixture and mix until well-combined. Set aside.
Combine chocolate chips, condensed milk, butter and salt in a microwave safe bowl. Cook at 100% power for 2-3 minutes, stirring once, until melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla.
Press two-thirds of the crust/topping into an ungreased 12 by 17 inch pan (1/2 sheet pan). You can use two 9 X 13 pans and bake for slightly less time, if you don’t have a 12 by 17 inch pan. Pour chocolate filling over crust and spread to edges.
Use a small spoon to dot the top with the remaining crust/topping, as when making drop cookies.
Bake about 15-25 minutes, or until lightly browned and set. Bake the bars the shorter amount of time if you want them slightly gooey, the longer time if you prefer them firmer. Cool in pan on rack until just warm. Cut into small squares. Let cool completely in pan and then store in a tightly covered container for up to a week. Freeze for longer storage.