Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fudgy Nutty Goodness

What happens when you combine the fiber powerhouse of oatmeal with the antioxidant supremacy of chocolate? Well, it might be extreme to call these chocolatey treats healthy, but a small one with your mid-morning coffee will make you feel great and tide you over to a sensible lunch. These bars were devoured by the folks at work.

Fudgy Pecan Oatmeal Bars

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
1 (5 oz.) can evaporated milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10 X 15 inch pan and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, sugars, baking soda and salt. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or your fingers. Add eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and continue mixing until a shaggy dough is formed.

3. Divide the dough into two halves. Add chopped pecans to one half and press into bottom and up sides of baking pan.

4. In a saucepan over low heat, melt three tablespoons butter, then add the evaporated milk and corn syrup. When mixture is thoroughly integrated, remove from heat and add chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Add remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

5. Smooth chocolate mixture over pressed dough. An offset spatula works nicely to get the chocolate into the corners. Crumble remaining half of dough evenly over surface. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Let cool and cut into smallish squares. Keeps for several days in a covered container at room temperature. They last longer if you don't tell anybody where they are. Once it's public information, all bets are off.

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