Oatmeal Cookie Bars

oatmeal-cookies-barsIs it really the end of October?  I swear school just started, but I have noticed that it is bearable outside now and we are loving the change in season.  I heard something on the radio yesterday that made me laugh out loud because it is so true!  “We have four seasons in Arizona.  They are Summer, Insanely Hot Summer, Post Summer and Pre Summer.”  Can I get an “Amen!” from my fellow Arizonans?  We are now in Post Summer which means that the kids can go to the park, ride their bikes and do all of the outdoor activities that we think of as summer activities elsewhere.

This time of year makes me want to bake constantly (unfortunately for my waistline).  I love trying new recipes and when I find one that I really like, I can kind of get stuck.  Take, for instance, these oatmeal bars.  I first made them about three weeks ago and I have made them once a week ever since.  They are so easy to throw together and they are loved by everyone!  I have been raving about this recipe to my mom and sister for the last few weeks and I’ve taken this as a sign that I need to share the recipe with all of you.  It’s another one from Mel’s Kitchen Café.  I know I’ve probably done enough from her, but what can I say, I LOVE her recipes!  I have found that they are ones that I can rely on to be fabulous and isn’t fabulous what we all want in life?

AnneOpinion

These bar cookies are perfect.  They have oatmeal in them which gives a chewy texture and nutty flavor.  The perfect part is that there is not too much oatmeal so they don’t have that solid, heavy feel that comes with so many oatmeal treats.

These are so popular in these parts that I would not even dream of making them in anything smaller than a half sheet pan.  I have a hard time making them last a whole day in the large size. If things don’t disappear as quickly in your parts, feel free to make them in a 9×13 size.  Mel’s recipe is made for that size, so check it out here.

These bars can have any combination of chips in them that that you would like.  All chocolate chip, all butterscotch, peanut butter, M&M. (Boy 1 has been advocating for the all M&M)  My favorite is a combination of chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and M&M baking chips.  For me, it’s perfect and I’ll be sticking with it for a while I think.

One thing to remember.  If you want them to look pretty when you’re done (like in the picture) you’ll need to reserve some of each of the chips and not mix them in.  After the dough is pressed in the pan, sprinkle them over the top and after baking you’ll have pretty, irresistible looking bars.  If you just care how they taste, save yourself a step and just mix everything in to begin with.  I promise, either way, you will Love them!

post-closer

 

 

Oatmeal Cookie Bars
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Oatmeal Cookie Bars
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray half size baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat butter, sugars, egg and vanilla until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add 1 3/4 cup chocolate chips, 3/4 cup butterscotch chips and 3/4 cup M&M's and mix together. Press into the prepared pan and sprinkle reserved chips and M&M's over the dough and gently press in. Bake for 18-20 minutes until light golden brown. Don't overbake! These bars are definitely better underbaked by just a few minutes rather than being overbaked so watch them carefully. Let cool completely on a wire rack before slicing into squares.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion from Mel's Kitchen Café (with slight adaption)

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Brownie Batter Oatmeal

brownie-oatmealI have been working on losing weight for the last couple of months.  This means that one of my favorite things, brownies, have been off the table.  Diets, in general, means that real chocolate is off the table.  There are lots of diet products out there that are chocolate flavored, but unless real chocolate is used there always seems to be a weird artificial taste.(just for the record, that doesn’t stop me from eating them.  I’ll take what I can get)

Making things myself is one way that I know that the chocolate is going to be real.  I saw this Brownie Batter Breakfast Bake on Running with Spoons.  As a side note, go there and check out the cute spoon Amanda uses for her pictures.  I think that it would definitely make breakfast (or anything) taste better.  Alright, back to the Brownie Batter.  I tried it that night for dinner.  Yes, when I’m dieting I don’t stick to having breakfast foods at breakfast time or dinner foods at dinner.  I figure if I’m not going to eat very much, I’m going to eat what I feel like (that falls within my diet food parameters.)

AnneOpinion

I made the recipe just like the it was written the first time.  I really loved it until I plugged it into my fitness app and found out that it had 370 calories. (audible gasp)  I restrict myself to 1200 calories a day when I’m trying to lose weight.  This means that I generally don’t eat a meal that has more than 250 calories, and I really try and get it closer to 200.  I loved this so much though that I decided to try and work on getting it down to within my calorie needs.

Right off the bat I decided to cut the amount of chocolate chips in half and used mini chips so that they would leave their chocolately goodness throughout the whole thing and I used my Mrs. Butterworth lite syrup instead of pure maple syrup. (that’s 75 calories gone)

I originally tried to get the flour calories down by subbing in cornstarch as a thickener. This had a slight bitter flavor.  No go.  The flour also had a little bit of a bitter flavor.  I eventually left it out all together and took out 56 calories by doing that.

I had this every morning for a week straight. I wanted to be thorough for you, and if it that meant that I got to have super yummy chocolate oatmeal for breakfast every day, well I was willing to make that sacrifice.

I like to make two or three when I make it.  I put one in a ramekin to eat now and the other two in half pint jars to keep in the fridge for later in the week.  This made it so easy to grab a good nutritious breakfast (or snack) when I want them.  I tried it in the microwave, in the oven, cold from the fridge to the microwave and oven, and here’s what I’ve decided.  Cooking time isn’t any different straight from the fridge or making it that morning.  I prefer it from the oven.  The texture is better.  If I don’t have time for the oven, the microwave is fine.

Brownie Batter Oatmeal
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 5 minutes
Brownie Batter Oatmeal
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 person 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: person
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325, if using oven. Mix all of the ingredients together in a ramekin or 1/2 pint mason jar. Cook in oven for 15 minutes and let rest for 5 before eating. If cooking the microwave, cook on full power for 2 minutes. Let rest for 5.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion  adapted from Running with Spoons

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