June 29, 2011

Delicious Oatmeal Bars

How do you know you've become an adult? When you bake things and bring them to events that should be an unadulterated party. I've found myself doing exactly that lately, and am feeling a strange mix of pride and mourning for my youthful self who ate cold baked beans out of the can. It's okay. When it comes down to it, Raisin Oatmeal Bars are way better than cold baked beans.

Alexis requested this recipe after I brought these to Sasquatch and I figured I would post it here so that anyone can replicate and enjoy this treat.

The first time I made these I was in Colorado, recovering from a breakup and living by myself in the furnished apartment of my ex-boyfriend's sister. I had never lived by myself before and was really into it. I was painting and cooking a lot, mostly using this crazy slow-cook macrobiotic cookbook (The Self Healing Cookbook) that I had found in the apartment. Lucky for you, this recipe did not come from the The Self Healing Cookbook. I found this in the Summit Daily, quite possibly one of the worst newspapers in the history of the world. Anyway. Here's the recipe. I been using whole-wheat flour lately, and I think it adds to it. I also added coconut to the last batch with no ill-effect, so I would recommend adding that too, unless you hate coconut.

Raisin Oatmeal Bars

1 cup dark raisins
1 cup golden raisins (it's worth it. Don't skimp and only use dark ones)
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup grated coconut
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup) at room temperature
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the center. Line a 9" by 13'' pan with foil. Let the foil hang over the sides so that you have handles when you want to pull the bars out. If foil isn't non-stick, spray or grease.

Make the raisin filling by combining  the dark and golden raisins, condensed milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Cook over low medium heat and stir constantly until mixture thickens slightly and starts to simmer (you'll see bubbles but don't let it boil). Add coconut and mix. Remove the pan from heat and let it cool.

Make the base and topping by cutting the butter into pieces and mixing it with sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat until fluffy. Add the oats, flour, baking soda, and walnuts, and stir until well mixed and crumbly.

Set aside 1 cup of the mixture for the topping. Press the rest into the baking pan. Smooth in an even layer (you can use a sheet of wax paper if it's sticking to your hands). Spoon the raisin filling over the bottom layer and spread with a spatula so that it covers the entire base. Crumble the 1 cup of topping over the filling and press down gently to keep it in place.

Place in oven and bake until the top of the bars are a deep golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes. Remove the pastry from the oven and cool on a wire rack before lifting out of the pan.  Cut into 1 by 2 inch bars when you're ready to serve (they're rich). rich rich rich.


Kyle said...

Rich rich rich get it get it rich rich rich

alexis said...

I can't wait to buy two different types of raisins and try these super rich oatmeal bars