Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

A lot of my recent meal choices and recipe adventures have been informed by my overstuffed pantry closet. Of course, such shelf-stable abundance increases the chances of Synchronicity when perusing a recipe collection. That’s pretty much the way it was with these delicious oatmeal bars.

These are kind of like a fat and moist oatmeal cookie with lots of chocolate chips and a good, crunchy dose of pecans. The original recipe called for quick-cooking oats, and I stuck with that, simply because there are so many of them. I really think the more tender quick-oats form a better foundation for these bars. Regular oats might be too coarse, crumbly, and harder to palate.

A quick look at the recipe below will reveal how simple it really is, and the resulting treats are remarkably satisfying for as little work as a they require. They are sweet and moist, but still a bit chewy from the oats. Chocolate is always good in a place like this, and I really liked the slightly sweet crunchiness of the pecans (I had some left from making these muffins). You could use walnuts, or no nuts at all, if you prefer.

I was surprised by how good these bars are, and we almost ate the whole pan before I could get photos. They are as satisfying to enjoy as any oatmeal cookie, and, with all that oatmeal, they’re even kind of breakfast-able. Well, I like to have them with my morning coffee, anyway. And my afternoon coffee. And for dessert after supper. I may have to keep my pantry overstuffed with quick oats, pecans, and chocolate chips 

Oatmeal Pecan Chocolate Chip Bars

3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray, or grease it with butter or oil. Set aside.

2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir together to combine well. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer), combine the brown sugar and butter. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses, vanilla, and eggs until very well combined.

4. Slowly add the oat mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips.

5. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking pan. Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and set in the middle. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars of desired size. Can be served warm or completely cooled. Leftovers, covered tightly, are good for several days.

Makes about 3-4 dozen bars, depending on size.

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