Monday, February 6, 2012
I've been posting so infrequently that when I finally have a recipe to share, I find that I can't figure out what to say. It's like talking to a friend that you don't keep in close touch with. You have the best of intentions, but when you finally get around to phoning, those long-apart conversations are punctuated with awkward pauses. You could say I'm back in the kitchen on a PRN basis, but my mind has definitely been elsewhere. Like figuring out all the things I need to buy before baby girl shows up in 3 months or less (yes, I'm 27 weeks- reaching my third trimester!). And how we're going to manage moving just a month after she arrives (Dustin was recently accepted into a pediatric dentistry residency in Chicago). So much excitement! Combine that with a still-diminished appetite, and cooking isn't a big priority currently.
But every so often I find a reason to bake something sweet. This weekend it was the Superbowl. So I dug out a recipe I'd been meaning to try and gave it a go. As a fan of anything fudgy these bars sounded irresistible. And they definitely hit that chocolate-loving spot. The chewy oatmeal crumb balances the rich filling for the perfect salty-sweet treat.
Oatmeal Fudge Bars
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 cups oats
2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
1 (15-oz.) can sweetened-condensed milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts such as walnuts or pecans, optional (I omitted)
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease or line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper.
2. To make the oatmeal crumb, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the oatmeal. Press 2/3 of the oatmeal crumb into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Reserve the rest for topping.
3. To make the fudge filling, in a saucepan over medium-low heat melt together the chocolate chips, sweetened-condensed milk, butter, and salt. Stir until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and nuts (if using). Evenly pour over the prepared crust, leaving about a 1/4 inch margin around the sides of the pan (to prevent the fudge from sticking). Evenly dollop the remaining oat mixture on top of the filling.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden and the fudge layer is set but not solid. (Don't over bake or these bars will become dry.) Place on a wire rack to cool completely before cutting. (They take a while to cool and for the filling to set, so you can speed up the process by placing them in the refrigerator after they have cooled slightly.) Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Makes a 9x13 pan.
(Adapted from Erin's Food Files)