Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

oatmealccbarsSometimes I wonder who invented bar-style cookies. A woman without a lot of time of her hands, perhaps? Bars are a great options for picnics and potlucks, offering all of the deliciousness of cookies with much less baking time. Convenient and tasty…always a good combination.

These oatmeal chocolate chip bars came from Buns in My Oven, another baking blog that I found while looking for fun, easy-to-bake bar recipes. I really like oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and these bars are very similar, though I think the next time I make them I’ll add a dash of cinnamon to the dough to kick up the flavor a bit.

I highly suggest warming these up and serving them with vanilla ice cream, or perhaps spreading on some peanut butter, if you’re looking for serving suggestions. You could also just eat them standing up at your sink in the middle of the night. Who am I to judge?

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, melted
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with nonstick spray.

Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, vanilla, eggs, and melted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until combined. Dough will be very thick, so you’ll want to scrape down the sides a few times to make sure you get all of your dry ingredients incorporated.

Stir in chocolate chips, then pour dough into prepared pan, spreading it out as best you can.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs. Bars will look slightly underdone, but that’s what you want – be careful not to over-bake.

Allow to cool for 1 hour, then cut into squares.

 

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Oatmeal Spice Muffins

oatmeal spice muffinThis morning I had a wee mishap in the kitchen, when I forgot to add the baking powder to my first batch of oatmeal spice muffins. Baking powder is an important leavening agent composed of both sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, and acid salts that react with wet ingredients to create bubbles of carbon dioxide that lighten batter.

When you forget to add a leavening agent to a recipe, you’ll end up with a dense, flat finished product rather than a light, fluffy one; see the photograph below for the difference in my muffins. And, while baking powder and baking soda are related, they’re not necessarily interchangeable. If all you have is baking powder, you can use it in place of baking soda by doubling or tripling the quantity in your recipe. But, if all you have is baking soda, you’ll need to mix it with cream of tartar before substituting it for baking powder; just mix one part baking soda to two parts cream of tartar.

My second batch of these muffins turned out very well, though they’re not as sweet as I was expecting. Next time, I might add a bit of oatmeal streusel topping with brown sugar to ramp up the flavor. This recipe was adapted from another that I found online which was supposed to yield 12 muffins, but my batch only yielded 11. I suspect that these would be great as mini muffins, though.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • dash of cloves
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400. Line muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; make a well in the center.

In a glass measuring cup, combine milk, egg, oil, and vanilla; add all at once to the well in the dry mixture and stir until combined. Batter will be lumpy, but that’s okay.

Add pecans and stir to combine.

Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full and bake for 17 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack or serve warm.

Below, you can see the difference baking powder makes. The muffin on the left is not only fluffier, but darker in color than the muffin on the right. 

leaven vs unleaven