Missing: Large yellow sphere typically seen in the sky during daytime hours. Emits brilliant light and warmth and readily chases the blues away. Is shy and hates to be seen during the winter months. Answers to the name of Sun.
Reward: Three dozen of these oatmeal almost-candy bars and my undying gratitude.
I'm not a member of the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group but I knew as soon as I saw these cookie bars all over the internet this week that I'd just have to make these treats for the co-irkers. I hope they chase away the gray and make your mouth feel all sunny inside. (that's totally dorky, I know)
Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars (recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours
For the oatmeal (bottom and top) layer:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
1 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
For the chocolate (middle) layer:
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 TBSP unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) optional
3/4 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9X13 pan with cooking spray and place pan on a baking sheet.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside.
With mixer, beat butter on medium speed in a large mixing bowl until it is soft and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat for two minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each one. Beat in the vanilla. Scrape down bowl and beaters. Add the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed just until they're incorporated. Stir in the oats and the peanuts using a heavy wooden spoon or spatula.
Set aside 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the mixture and turn the remaining dough into the greased pan. Gently press the dough over the bottom of the pan. Set aside while you prepare the chocolate layer.
In a double boiler over medium low heat, pour the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter and salt, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla, peanuts and raisins (if using.)
Evenly spread the chocolate mixture over the oatmeal mixture then crumble the reserved oatmeal mixture evenly (as best you can) on top of the chocolate.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the chocolate layer is dull and starting to coming away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to cooling rack and cool for two hours.
Run a knife around the edges of the pan and then carefully turn the cake out onto a rack. Turn right side up and refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting.
Makes 32 bars. Can be eaten at room temperature but best when stored covered in the fridge.