Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Oatmeal Fudge Bars Let’s just be real about these oatmeal fudge bars: I make up reasons to bake them.

People coming over for dinner? Oatmeal fudge bars.
Just broke your favorite coffee mug? Oatmeal fudge bars.
Oh, it’s Tuesday, and it’s supposed to snow tonight? Oatmeal fudge bars.

Our friend Erin from church brought these bars to a dinner over the summer, and we’ve been making them pretty regularly ever since. Not only are they a salty-sweet, fudgy play on a brownie (with hints of coffee, people, coffee), but they’re easy. Like, my one-year-old-helped-me-make-them easy.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars These oatmeal fudge bars are fast becoming our favorite dessert of 2013, so when Eric’s birthday rolled around this past weekend, I knew they had to be made again. Of course, they followed his request for apple crumb pie…and ice cream. And I just made these caramel brownies for a baby shower (which of course, we’ll need to sample first).

But I’ve been justifying this week-long sugar binge because I have my glucose test on Friday, and what if they tell me I have gestational diabetes and I have to lay off sugar for the next few months…over the holiday season? 

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Clearly, this is the stuff of my nightmares.
So this week is about baking and eating entire pans of oatmeal fudge bars…you know, just in case.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

The crust and topping of these bars is an oatmeal-licious salty-sweet combo that you will (if you’re anything like me) have a difficult time not eating all of with a spoon. Seriously. The filling is a thick chocolate mixture – almost like a frosting – that boasts some serious coffee flavor. The end result of these bars is fudgy and chewy with just the slightest crisp from the crust. In other words – what every other dessert on the planet is trying to be.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

(recipe from America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book by way of my friend Erin!)

(yields one 8x8-inch pan [about 16 bars])

These chewy, fudgy brownie bars have a salty-sweet crust and crumble top with a layer of chocolatey fudge that contains hints of coffee as a filling! I didn't adapt this recipe apart from not waiting for the crust to cool completely before spreading the fililng in. Once it's mostly cool (about 20 mins. in the fridge), you can spread your filling just fine.

Ingredients

Crust and Topping:

1 c. quick-cooking oats

1 c. brown sugar, packed

3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

1 stick (8 tbsp.) salted butter, melted & cooled slightly

Filling:

1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. brown sugar, packed

2 tsp. instant coffee or espresso*

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tbsp. butter

1 large egg

--

*can also use regular (ground) coffee beans

Instructions

For the crust and topping:

Preheat oven to 325*. Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with a foil sling and grease the foil thoroughly.

--

Whisk the oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

Stir in the melted butter until combined.

Reserve 3/4 c. of the oat mixture for the topping.Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even, thin layer.

Bake the crust until light golden brown, about 8 minutes.

Remove from oven to a wire rack. Let the crust mostly cool (I stick mine in the fridge for about 20 minutes).

For the filling:

While crust is cooling, whisk the flour, sugar, instant coffee, and salt together in a bowl (I use the same bowl as I do for the crust, wiped out with a paper towel). A few minutes before crust is cooled, melt the chocolate chips and butter together in a microwave in 30-secon bursts, stirring between each burst. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and let cool slightly.

Whisk the egg into the melted chocolate mixture until combined.

Then stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. (A fork works best for this; the mixture will be thick, like frosting).

Assemble & Bake:

Spread the filling evenly over the mostly cooled crust and smooth the top.

Sprinkle with the reserved 3/4 c. oat topping.

Bake the bars until the filling begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Let the bars cool for about 20-30 minutes in the pan, resting on a wire rack. Then, using your foil sling, lift the bars out of the pan and place them back on the wire to cool completely.

(Though let's be honest, I love to chow down on these while they're still a little warm!)

These keep in a covered container on the counter for 3-4 days; after that, throw them in the refrigerator.

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20 thoughts on “Oatmeal Fudge Bars

    • Heather – this was one of the first things I read after I woke up, and I may or may not have splurted out my coffee because it made me laugh so hard.

    • You know, sort of okay seeing the flakes fly last night. But didn’t really help my fear of going into labor in January during an ice storm. This upcoming winter is a bit love/hate for me.

      • a baby in january! i have a january baby as well…are you delivering close to home? is this a conversation for email? i love that you are in the minneapple :)

        • Haha…the hospital’s just a 10-minute (non-rush-hour) drive away from our house…so not too bad. But having had one baby in May, the possibility of ice and snow makes me really nervous :) We should connect sometime, fellow Minneapolite!

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