A perfect, simple, and quick picnic dessert
Isn’t springtime the best? The weather is warm; the sky is beautiful, and the sun, OH THE SUN, is around all the time!! I wake up at 6am everyday and there is just nothing like waking up to see sun peeking through the blinds. I usually just about hop out of bed, but with that gorgeous sunshine – I’m practically dancing out of bed! And the sun hangs out so much later at night too. In the winter I’m falling asleep around 7pm because it’s so darn dark and depressing. Now the sun sticks around so much later and I feel so productive and energized! So crazy how much light affects us.
Last weekend my husband and I attended a fun church potluck at a nearby park. And, well, it wasn’t exactly the warmest day. It was windy and chilly, but nothing a few attempts on the monkey bars and the climbing wall couldn’t fix. We were assigned to bring a dessert and I searched for an easy dessert I could throw together. It was such a busy week and I needed something I could prepare ahead. And I hoped for a dessert that would take less than 30 minutes to make and suited a picnic. Of course my kitchen at that point was still overflowing with my multiple batches of meringues, but that just didn’t seem like picnic food, or is that just me?
Enter these Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars! I took my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, added some oats, and pressed the dough into a 9×13. I chilled it for an hour (optional, but recommended) and baked for 30 minutes. Simple as that! Cookie doughs do not necessarily transfer so easily into bars. They can be flat in the middle or undercooked. I guess my chocolate chip cookie recipe is magic because this just worked fabulously!
I mean, look at the height these babies have! You are going to love these bars because they are thick and chewy. Not crumbly and not overly soft, they stick together perfectly – making them easy to cut into nice, square pieces. They’re stuffed with chocolate chips and oats, which I think just add a wonderful extra taste of healthy grain! This is based on my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe so you’ve got lots of vanilla and the perfect balance of brown sugar to white sugar that helps create one tasty, shove-them-all-in-your-mouth bar.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars
Total time: 2 hours, 30 minutes active time
Yields: 24 bars
¾ cup butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
⅔ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup bread flour (see notes)
1 and ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup old-fashioned oats
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together until very light and fluffy, about three minutes.
- Add eggs and vanilla and beat well until fluffy again, about two minutes.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the two flours, baking soda, and baking powder until fully incorporated. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, add the flour mixture into the butter mixture, just until combined. Be careful not to over mix.
- Carefully fold in chocolate chips and oats.
- Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish and line the bottom with a layer of parchment paper. Press the dough into the pan and make an even layer. Chill covered in the refrigerator for one hour or up to 48 hours.
- After chilling the dough, preheat oven to 350 degrees and transfer your baking dish to the oven. Bake for 28-30 minutes, until the entire top of the bars are well-browned and an inserted toothpick comes out cleanly. Allow bars to cool completely before cutting. Cookies keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days. You can also freeze them in an airtight bag for up to three months.
Notes: No substitutions on the bread flour! Bread flour is a high protein flour that helps these bars be extra tall and chewy. Pick up a bag and you won’t regret it – lots of recipes call for it! Watch these bars carefully too! I live in a high altitude and, as always, things can cook slightly different. So keep an eye on them as you approach 25 minutes of baking time and use your best judgment to determine when they are done.
If you try these, I’d love to see the result! Tag your kitchen creations with #mesacookingco so I can admire your beautiful work!
© MESA COOKING CO. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images or content without prior permission.