These gooey chocolate oatmeal treats are reminiscent of a certain bar sold at Starbuck's called "Fudge Oat Bars". They are amazing, and I've wanted to find a recipe that replicates the Starbuck's version. I found it courtesy of Dorie Greenspan's "Baking From My Home to Yours". Dorie's version titled "Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars" calls for raisins and peanuts incorporated in the fudge layer. I omitted both because (a) I don't like raisins, (b) my son is allergic to nuts, and (c) the Starbuck's version does not contain either. I don't think those omissions compromised the bars though because these are truly delicious.
The recipe calls for 2 cups of chocolate chips in the fudge layer. I used them only because I didn't have any other chocolate in the house. However, I think the next time I tackle this recipe, I will use a higher quality chocolate, just to boost the wow factor. I wonder what they'd be like with white chocolate fudge...or maybe white chocolate chunks in the oatmeal layer? Hmmm... next time.
Recipe for Oatmeal Fudge Squares:
inspired by Dorie Greenspan
For the oatmeal layer:
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 c. unsalted butter, room temp.
2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 t. vanilla
3 c. old-fashioned oats
For the chocolate layer:
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 c. chocolate chips (or 12 ounces of a good quality chocolate)
2 T. unsalted butter
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 baking pan.
To make oatmeal layer: Whisk flour, baking soda salt and cinnamon. Beat butter with paddle attachment of stand mixer until soft and creamy. Add brown sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, mixing only until incorporated. Still on low speed, add oats. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the mixture for topping. Turn remaining dough into the buttered pan. Gently press dough evenly over bottom of pan.
To make fudge layer: Set heatproof bowl over saucepan of simmering water. Add condensed milk, chocolate, butter and salt. Stir until melted and smooth. Pour over the oatmeal crust then scatter the reserved mixture evenly over top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden and the chocolate layer is dull and starting to pull away from sides of pan.
Transfer the baking pan to a rack and cool for about 2 hours. Run a blunt knife between the edges of the cake and the pan and turn the cake out onto a rack. Turn right side up and refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting.
*Note: In Dorie Greenspan's version, she recommends eating these cold. They are definitely good cold, more like the fudge oat squares at Starbuck's. But if you like your chocolate on the gooey side, serve them at room temperature. The picture below is cold.