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This is some kind of specially printed book as one half of it is an "Any Day Treats" cookie book and the other half, turned upside down and printed as the back half is a "Christmastime Treats" book. This recipe is from the Any Day cookie book half.
This is another one of those crowd pleaser type recipes where it has a little something for everyone - oats, chocolate, nuts - and is made similar to the peanut butter fudge bars. I have to admit though I was a little off my groove when making this one - I deliberately used a 9 x 13 pan instead of the larger pan the recipe specified but I discovered too late that I was low on semisweet chocolate chips so I supplemented my meager stash with Lindt and Valrhona semisweet chocolate bars. Which would've been fine but instead of 1 1/2 cups or approximately 9 ounces of chocolate chips, I ended up using 12 ounces of chocolate, thinking I needed 2 cups instead of 1 1/2 cups. Oh well, there's no such thing as too much chocolate, right? Second inadvertent mistake is because I had these in the oven while I was working out, I didn't check on them until my workout was nearly done and by then, the bars looked a little too done. Oops. Clearly I need to get better at multi-tasking after a workday.
But fortunately they survived my haphazard baking (in)attention and they weren't burnt or dry. However, I would only classify these as just "okay". Similar to how the peanut butter fudge bars were made, this has some of the cookie dough as a bottom crust, covered with a chocolate layer then topped with bits of the rest of the cookie dough. Good in theory but in taste - just okay. There's nothing wrong with it and most people would probably like it but bear in mind I'm very picky about my dessert calories. Desserts should be more than just okay. To make these better, I recommend adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to the oatmeal batter to liven up the flavor and possibly substituting a caramel or dulce de layer for the chocolate layer so you get more of a brown sugar/caramel oatmeal bar. Otherwise, save yourself the calories.
|Tops are a bit too brown|
1 cup butter, softened
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate pieces
1 14-ounce can (1 ¼ cups) sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla
1. In a very large mixing bowl, beat the 1 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or till softened. Add about half of the flour to the butter. Then add the brown sugar, eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and baking soda. Beat till thoroughly combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the remaining flour. Stir in the rolled oats. Set the oat mixture aside.
2. For filling, in a medium saucepan, heat chocolate pieces, sweetened condensed milk, and the 2 tablespoons butter over low heat till chocolate is just melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in the walnuts or pecan and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
3. For crust, press two-thirds (about 3 1/3 cups) of the oat mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. Spread the chocolate mixture over crust. Drop the remaining oat mixture by rounded teaspoons on top of chocolate layer.
4. Bake in a 350˚F oven about 25 minutes or till the top is lightly browned. (Chocolate mixture will still look moist.) Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 60.