Sunday, February 12, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Brownie Bars

I know. . . the name sort of blows your mind, right?  Well, I can tell you from extensive research that these cookie bars truly do blow your mind!  It's my neighbor's birthday this weekend and his wife is out of town, so we decided to take the poor guy in and celebrate his birthday with him and the kids.  The day before his birthday, I asked him what he wanted for dessert and he told me that he's just not much of a dessert guy (Can you say, YIKES?).  After a brief discussion we both agreed that he loves oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and he loves brownies.  The idea was born!  Without hesitation, I decided that those two items could most definitely be combined into one amazing treat!

I won't deny that it's more work to make both recipes, but I'm going to have trouble ever making only brownies again after tonight!  So, if you're feeling like treating yourself, this is definitely a recipe to try!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Brownie Bars

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour (or AP flour)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk (I used coconut milk from a carton)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts (finely processed)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use combination of large dark chips and mini chips)

Mix dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Set aside.  In another bowl, beat butter and sugars together.  Add egg, milk and vanilla.  Add sugar mixture to the dry ingredients and mix only until batter is moistened.  Fold walnuts and chocolate chips into mixture being careful not to over mix batter.

Press this dough down into the bottom of a 9 x 12 or 13 pan.  I firmly pressed it into place with my hands so that it would be easy to add the brownie layer onto it later.  Onto the brownie layer. . .

Fudge Brownie Layer - Adapted from King Arthur Flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups chocolate chips

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Or simply combine the butter and sugar, and heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Continue to heat (or microwave) briefly, just until the mixture is hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture to this point will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips (I use a combination of large dark chocolate chips and mini chips and I don't have a problem with them melting).

Pour brownie mix on top of oatmeal chocolate chip cookie layer.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  I prefer my brownies to be a bit gooey, so just check that they are done to your specifications.  ;)


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