Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Hi all–  Tonight we’re wrapping up our Monday ladies study and prayer time for the year.  I love those ladies. When they walk in the door on Monday evening, my heart feels happy.  They come in for a mug of tea/coffee and a little something sweet– and then the talk begins.  Little groups of friends, catching up all across the room.  It’s the best.  And here’s what we’re snacking on tonight:


Oatmeal Layers:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tab. milk
1 cup flour
1  1/2 cup whole oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup walnuts chopped for on top.

Fudge Layer:
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate chips (6 oz.)
3 tab. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir together the melted butter, brown sugar and egg until blended.  Then mix in the vanilla and milk until it’s thoroughly mixed.  Finally stir in the four, oats, baking powder and salt.

Spread 2/3 of the oatmeal batter in a 9″ square or 11″x8″ rectangular baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Then make the fudge layer.  In a sauce pan melt together the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter and vanilla, stirring until it is all melty and blended.

Pour the fudge over the oatmeal layer in the baking dish, smoothing it with the back of a spoon to cover the whole layer.

Then break up the remaining oatmeal batter with your fingers to little bits and drop them over the fudge. It won’t cover completely, little bits of fudge will show through.  Sprinkle the chopped walnuts evenly over the top.

Pop the whole things into a 350 oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Let it cool at least half an hour and then cut it into neat little squares.


Toffee Cookie Bars

Hello there– You know that addicting toffee that people make at Christmas?? So so delicious!  Just in case you’re reading Tammy, it was the best Christmas gift — I’m remembering that jarful you gifted us.

Well, this is the cookie version of that toffee, more crumbly and tender, but studded with almonds and toffee bits, topped with chocolate.  It really is delish, in that toffee candy sort of way!

6  tab. butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup plain toffee bits, divided*
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup whole toasted almonds, chopped

With an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and powdered sugar until it forms a thick paste.  Then beat in the flour and salt until it looks like sandy crumbs.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the toffee bits.

Spray a 9″ square baking dish (or 11″x7″ baking dish) with cooking spray and then spread the crumb mixture into the dish.  Pat it down to make a smooth even surface.

Bake the cookie layer at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the cookie layer when it comes out of the oven.  Let them sit 5 minutes to soften and then use a broad knife to spread the chocolate evenly over the cookie layer.
Sprinkle on the chopped almonds and remaining 1/4 cup toffee bits.

Let the cookie bars sit until they cool to room temperature and then cut them into neat little squares.

Squirrel Bars

Hi friends–  Don’t ask me how this recipe got the quirky name –Squirrel Bars.  This recipe is an old favorite and dear to my heart because it came from my beloved Aunt Mary Ann.  Maybe the squirrels in my yard would like them– all those peanuts!

And I’m pretty sure you would like them too.  Quick to make and delicious as the best kind of peanut butter-chocolate cookie.

1/2 cup peanut butter*
1/3 cup butter (2/3 stick)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips (8 oz.)

With an electric mixer beat together the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Then blend in the flour, baking powder and salt.

Spread the thick dough in to a 9″x 13″ baking dish** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and put the baking dish into a 350 degree oven for just 3 minutes!!

Take the squirrel bars out of the oven and swirl the melted chocolate chips into the top of the batter.  Pop it back into the oven for 20 more minute until the bars are cooked through.

Let the squirrel bars cool a few minutes before you cut them into bars– delicious with a scoop of ice cream!

*I like super chunky peanut butter — the little peanuts add a nice texture.
**In these pictures I made just half of a recipe and cooked it up in a 9″ pie dish and cut it into wedges.

Caramel Pecan Oatmeal Bars

Hello Baking Buddies– This year for my birthday, my father-in-law wrapped up those hugs bags of walnuts and pecans from Costco for much appreciated birthday gift!  I feel rich with all those nuts sitting in the cupboard, just waiting to be baked into something yummy.

So last week it was Chocolate Pecan Bars– and today I’m trying out these Caramel Pecan Oatmeal Bars.  I’m heading over to my in-laws house for a little lunch in a bit, so I’ll take Stu a little plateful to show him how I’m putting his pecans to good use!


3/4 cup butter (1  1/2 stick), room temperature*
1  1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2  1/2 cups oatmeal
1  1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup caramel sauce**
1 cup pecans, chopped

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth.  Then mix in the oatmeal flour, baking powder and salt.

Take 1 cup of the mixture out and set aside for the topping.  With your fingers spread the rest of the oatmeal mixture into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray to completely cover the bottom.  Pop this into a 350 degree oven for just 12 minutes.

When the bottom layer comes out of the oven, drizzle on 1 cup of caramel sauce.  Crumble up the one cup of oat mixture that you set aside into coarse crumbs over the top of the caramel.  Sprinkle on the pecans.

Put the whole thing back into the 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until it’s lightly golden on top.  Let the bars cool completely before cutting them into little squares.

*If you’re taking the butter from the fridge (like me), put it into the microwave for 10 seconds to soften it up.
**The recipe I worked from gave instructions for making your own caramel sauce from scratch, but I love Hershey’s caramel sauce and also saving a little time, so that’s what I used.  But if you’re a caramel making whiz, you can stir up your own caramel!


Chocolate Chip & Pecan Bars



Hello Cookie-loving Friends– To tell the truth, until now not a cookie has entered my oven this long hot summer.  Baking has been reduced to a few necessary cakes.  But there’s a tinge in the air– could baking season be far off?!  It’s down to the 80’s this week and I’m imagining fall around the corner with apple tarts and orange rolls and batches of brownies!

So when we had our Thursday night crew in last week, I cranked up the oven and made these chocolate-y cookie bars– all the better with pecans (because who doesn’t love pecans??).  They are easy and cut up into neat little squares.


4 tab. butter (1/2 stick)
2 tab. canola oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1  1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1  1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped

With an electric mixer blend together the butter, canola oil, white sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until they are smooth and creamy.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally add in the chocolate chips and pecans (I keep a small handful of both aside to sprinkle on top to make it prettier)

With your fingers press the dough into a 9″ by 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are lightly browned and cooked through.


Chocolate Pumpkin Streusel Bars

IMG_2671Hi all– November baking often ends up one pumpkin recipe after another.  I can’t help it.  And my absolute favorite pumpkin baking event is stirring up 30 loaves of pumpkin bread with my 4th graders the day before our Thanksgiving break!

It’s a pumpkin-palooza! Five teams of bakers are skittering up to my supply table for sugar, eggs, pumpkin, mini chocolate chips (their favorite ingredient)– Eggs are cracking and flour is flying!! I always have to apologize to the janitor at the end of the day.

It’s just great to send them out the door for their Thanksgiving break with that pumpkin-y loaf to share with their family.  They are so proud.

But back to this recipe!  It involved a more sedate baking situation– me alone in my kitchen–less exciting, but even more delicious. And this time it’s tender, streusel topped little pumpkin laced cakes, topped and filled with chocolate bits, little sweet taste of Thanksgiving.


2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
6 tab. butter
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips*

2 cups flour
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup mini chocolate chips

IMG_2666First, prepare the streusel.  Mix together the 2/3 cup flour, 2/3 cup brown sugar and  cinnamon.  Then with a pastry blender (or two forks) cut in the butter until it resembles coarse sand.  Stir in the 1/2 cup chocolate chips.  Set this aside.

In a new mixing bowl, stir together the 1 cups flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt.  Then mix in the oil, white and brown sugar, egg, vanilla and pumpkin.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the mixture into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the streusel over the stop and pop it into a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes until the bars are firm to the touch.

Let them cool a bit and the cut into tidy little squares.  Pumkin-y good.

*I had a nice chocolate bar someone had given me so I chopped it and mixed it in with the mini chocolate chips for the topping on the streusel.


Pumpkin Fudge Oatmeal Bars

IMG_2910Hi friends–  If you live around here, you’ve gotten the flyer from Trader Joe’s in the mail– It’s a pumpkin-palooza!!  I was with friends this evening and everyone was talking about the pumpkin items they’ve picked up there– pumpkin ravioli and pumpkin butter, pumpkin scones and pumpkin beer…  the list goes on (and on).

So it’s officially pumpkin season around here.  And in that vein, here’s a little pumpkin offering of our own–hearty oatmeal laced with pumpkin and a fudgey chocolate layer that sweetens it up.  It’s pumpkin time!


1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
1  1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
2 eggs
2  1/2 cups oats
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Fudge Layer:
14 oz. can condensed milk
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

IMG_2913With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, pumpkin and brown sugar.  Then beat in the eggs and pumpkin pie spice.  Finally mix in the flour, oats, baking powder, salt and walnuts.  The batter will be stiff.

Spoon 3/4 of the pumpkin batter into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Smooth it flat with a spatula.

Then put the condensed milk and chocolate chips into a glass bowl and microwave them for 1 1/2 minutes.  Pull the bowl out of the microwave and stir the chocolate and condensed milk together until they are smooth.

Spread the chocolate mixture over the pumpkin batter in the baking dish.  Then pinch pieces of the remaining batter (it will be sticky!) into little clumps over the top of the chocolate layer.

Pop it into a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes — do not over bake–or sadly it will dry out.  Let the bars cool at least an hour and then cut them into happy little squares!