Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars

It’s my week! I’ve been baking along with the Tuesdays With Dorie group — most weeks — for about a year and a half, and the day has finally come for me to choose this week’s recipe. I went through the book, Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, and put sticky notes on the pages with recipes I wanted to try, most of which were cookies. There were a lot of sticky notes. Then I handed the book over to my culinary consultants and had them go through and pick the ones they liked best. Both of them settled on this recipe, so the choice was easy.

oatmeal candy bars 1

Having the privilege of choosing this week’s recipe is perfect timing, because #1 Son, my firstborn, Alex, turned 18 on Sunday. This post is just the last part of a multi-week celebration that started with his admission to Duke in early December and continued through Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s and now his joining the ranks of adulthood. It’s been an eventful month and a half.

So, I made these bars. Oatmeal-cookie base, chocolate-peanut layer in the middle, then oatmeal-cookie topping. They looked and sounded delicious.

And they are.

They weren’t the simplest cookies in the world, what with the three layers and all. But at least the bottom and top layers were the same batter, which helped a little. (And that batter? Marvelous. Check it out.)

oatmeal candy bars 4

So I made the cookie batter, which was really more of a dough, then pressed it into a pan, reserving some for topping. Then I melted some chocolate chips and butter and poured it on top, then covered it with the reserved cookie dough. At the special request of my now-adult son, I added raisins to a quarter of the filling, leaving the rest blissfully fruit-free. (See the toothpick marking the nasty part?)

oatmeal candy bars 2

And then I baked it. I was rushing to get this into the oven before taking Ben (previously known as #2 Son) to karate, so Alex was in charge of getting it out. I think he said it took about 10 or 15 minutes longer than the recipe indicated, but my oven’s been behaving badly lately.

They cooled for the specified two hours in the pan, then went into the fridge on a cooling rack overnight. The next morning we sliced them up and packed them up to take along on our annual New Year’s visit to friends in Virginia.

They were good. Not too sweet, and so not too rich. The raisin version proved surprisingly popular. There’s no accounting for taste.

They spent the day on an unheated screen porch in Northern Virginia, so they were cold when we ate them. They were a hit:

Alex: One of my favorite Dories. Totally made up for the Cocoa-Nana Bread [tune in next week!].

Ben: Om nom nom good. [Please supply your own lip-smacking sounds.]

[And where, you may be asking, is Tim, heretofore referred to as Husband? He's off carbs. May God have mercy on his soul.]

oatmeal candy bars 3

If you’d like to see what the other TWD bakers thought about these, check out the blogroll. And instead of sending you to someone else’s blog for the recipe, I can include it here!

Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars, from Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the oatmeal layer:

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (packed) brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
1 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

For the chocolate layer:

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)
¾ cup coarsely chopped peanuts, preferably salted

Getting ready:
Center a rack in the oven, and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, and place the pan on a baking sheet.

To make the oatmeal layer:

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until it is soft and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat for 2 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating for a minute after each egg goes in. Beat in the vanilla. The mixture should be light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear. Still on low speed, or working by hand with a rubber spatula, stir in the oats and chopped peanuts.

Set aside 1½ to 2 cups of the mixture, then turn the remaining dough into the buttered pan. Gently and evenly press the dough over the bottom of the pan. Set aside while you prepare the next layer.

To make the chocolate layer:

Set a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Put the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter, and salt in the bowl and stir occasionally until the milk is warm and the chocolate and butter are melted. Remove the bowl from the pan of water and stir in the vanilla, raisins (if using), and peanuts.

Pour the warm chocolate over the oatmeal crust, then scatter the remaining oatmeal mixture over the top. Don’t try to spread the oatmeal, and don’t worry about getting the topping even — this is fun, remember?

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the chocolate layer is dull and starting to come away from the sides of the 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 carefully turn the cake out onto a rack. Turn right side up, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting.

Cut into 32 rectangles, each roughly 2¼ by 1½ inches. Makes 32 bars.

Serving: I think these are best served cold from the fridge, although my husband likes them straight from the freezer, cut into slivers. Before you chill the bars, though, have one — you might find you like them best at room temperature, in which case you’re lucky: You can start enjoying them sooner.

Storing: Wrapped well, these will keep for about four days at room temperature, 1 week in the refrigerator, or up to two months in the freezer.

93 Responses to “Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars”

  1. natalia Says:

    Ciao ! Thank you for hosting this week ! And for choosing such a fun and good recipe !!

  2. AP269 Says:


  3. Chocolate Oatmeal Almost Candy Bars « Carmen Cooks Says:

    [...] For more of these delicious bars, please visit the Tuesdays with Dorie page, and for the recipe, visit this week’s host, Lillian of Confectiona’s Realm! [...]

  4. isabelle Says:

    merci beaucoup Lillian pour le choix de cette recette :)
    Ces carrés étaient tout simplement fantastiques !

  5. Melissa Says:

    Thanks for the pick, we liked them at my house too! Yours look delicious!

  6. Jessica Says:

    Lillian, thank you so much for such a wonderful pick this week! I loved these bars a little too much — I couldn’t stop eating them! Yours look delicious, and I love that you made some with raisins and some without raisins.

  7. Kaitlin Says:

    Congratulations to Alex on his birthday and admission to Duke! That’s exciting.

    And my sympathies to your husband. No carbs? Ick!

    Thank you so much for this choice. It was a big hit at my house.

  8. Spike Says:

    amazing pick! thoroughly enjoyed

  9. Katrina Says:

    Hey, great pick! Love your close up photos.
    I didn’t use raisins. I would have probably liked them. But since I wanted my boys (husband included) to eat these, I went a whole different route! This recipe is quite versatile with a great base and yummy chocolate center!

  10. chocolatechic Says:

    This was just such a fabulous pick.

    I didn’t even consider the raisins, and added peanut butter chips to the topping.


  11. Amanda Says:

    Thanks for hosting this week! We enjoyed the bars, so glad you guys loved them !

  12. Jeannette Says:

    Thank you SO much Lillian for being such a great hostess!! And thanks to Alex and Ben for choosing this gem of a recipe! And bless your dear hubby’s heart for laying off the carbs. I couldn’t do it, I love bread. I love it so.

    Great looking bars, btw!!

  13. TWD – Chocolate Oatmeal Almost Candy-Bars « The Whimsical Cupcake Says:

    [...] big thank you to Lillian of Confectiona’s Realm for hosting and allowing her two loved ones to choose this great recipe! Head on over for the [...]

  14. shortbreadsouth Says:

    Fun pick! I had to make mine sans raisins and peanuts to please the family. I know I would have liked the peanuts, not so sure about the raisins. Made these hoping daughter would like, since she was very disappointed that cocoa nana bread had nanas!

  15. Mary Says:

    Thanks for hosting this week! I left a few things out of these bars, but they were great! Yours look fantastic and what a great idea to have a toothpick fence to keep the evil raisins from touching anything else!

  16. Becky O. Says:

    thanks for picking such a delightful recipe! i loved it so much! i brought it to work the day after i made it and my coworkers were in heaven.

    i used craisins and really enjoyed them. next time i’ll try raisins….i just didn’t have them on hand.

  17. Tia Says:

    thanks for a great choice! mine didn’t turn out so great but i enjoyed making them anyway.

  18. Sabrina Says:

    Great Choice! I really enjoyed this one!!!

  19. Amy Says:

    These are a perfect dessert to take on a road trip. I’m glad you enjoyed these. I certainly did, too (raisins and all)!

  20. Karen Says:

    These were a hit at our house. No raisins for us or they wouldn’t have been touched. :) Thanks for the fun pick!

  21. Amy (Sing For Your Supper) Says:

    Great pick! These were delicious!! Congrats to your son on getting into Duke – that’s great!

  22. Jennifer Says:

    Lillian-These were SOOOOOO delicious!!!!!

  23. Jennifer Says:

    Thanks for the awesome choice!!!!

  24. Jill Says:

    Mine just came out of the oven and smell delicious! I’m going to try my hardest to stay away from them and let the skinny men in my life eat them! Great pick.

  25. Hanaa Says:

    These look amazing! I have all the ingredients in my pantry and Dorie’s book, so I have NO excuse NOT to make these… hmmm… Great pictures, btw!

  26. Jessica Says:

    Amazing! What a wonderful pick! These bars single-handedly destroyed the “lose weight” New Year’s Resolutions of all my friends and family! Oh well, who cares! :)

  27. Emily Rose Says:

    Thanks for a fabulous selection! we loved these bars so much! and congrats to your son on his acceptance at Duke!

  28. Jules Someone Says:

    These were a total hit at my house. Yum!

  29. TWD: chocolate oatmeal almost-candy bars « The Berry Bushel Says:

    [...] for the choice this week.  If anyone else wants to make these bad boys, you can just refer to her post with the recipe in it!  Or you can just buy the book…it’s [...]

  30. mix, mix... stir, stir » Blog Archive | TableFare Says:

    [...] of Confectiona’s Realm picked the recipe this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie reicpe and has it posted on her blog if [...]

  31. Michelle Says:

    Thank you for hosting this week and picking my now favorite TWD! I loved it and so did my three kids. It was amazing! YOur bars look great!

  32. Carol Peterman Says:

    These were great! I wish I would have made a marked off portion of the dough with raisins to try. Congratulations on getting your first son to adulthood and off to Duke!

  33. CECILLE Says:

    They are yummy, yeah? Thanks for choosing this recipe. Congratulation to Alex for his acceptance at Duke! Great school!

  34. Cakelaw Says:

    These were amazing! Thanks for picking them – I loved them.

  35. Crystal Says:

    Looks so good…but is it a little time consuming to make? I’m a lazy cook, but I’m going to try them anyway. :)

  36. mike Says:

    #1 bars for #1 son – thanks for choosing these. Great bars – and yours look really wonderful. Perfect for a congratulatory “treat”! Glad you enjoyed making these and they will make a “memory” for you and Alex!

  37. Jaime Says:

    thanks for hosting! i enjoyed these, raisins and all!

  38. dorie Says:

    I’m so glad you picked these — I was wondering how long it would take for someone to give them the nod — and gladder that you and your boys liked them. Happy Birthday, Alex, and congratulations on your admission to Duke (such a great school) — do you think you might be baking these bars in your dorm? I like that idea, and I bet your roommates would too.

  39. junecutie Says:

    Yummy! Must make these bars. Now. Please subscribe me to your blob with my email address. Thanks

  40. Di Says:

    Great pick this week. We all liked the bars a lot. I’m one of those crazy raisin-lovers (especially with chocolate), so I thought that part was particularly good. =)

  41. Margot Says:

    Great choice, these were super-yummy! Happy birthday and congratulations to Alex, what an exciting month! I couldn’t imagine living in a house with a baker and not eating carbs, good luck to your husband.

  42. Lynne Says:

    Thanks for the pick! You know I changed my mind about these bars after they were in the fridge overnight-Great taste even though they are rich-rich-rich!!! I froze them so the hubby could take them for a lunch treat.

  43. Teanna Says:

    Thanks for the great choice! These were delicious!

  44. Madam Chow Says:

    These were fabulous – thank you! I’m not so sure my thighs thank you, but my taste buds do!

  45. Mimi Says:

    Thank for hosting this week . You really picked a winner.

  46. Jill Says:

    Thank you for the fantastic selection! These were very popular (WITH the raisins) at my house and beyond!

  47. Erin Says:

    I’m so glad these finally got picked! Yours look delicious and I loved making them!

  48. Cindy Harris Says:

    I have been making treats for 45 years now. These are some of the best I have made. Great choice. I’m new at TWD, been baking out of the book for over a year but just joined. Fun group!

  49. TWD: Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars | Joanna’s World Says:

    [...] can find the recipe here, at Confectiona’s Realm.  They are far easier to put together than the list of ingredients [...]

  50. TWD: Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars « Clara Bakes Says:

    [...] So, this week (well, last week), the recipe was Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars selected by Lillian from Confectionista’s Realm [...]

  51. isabelle Says:

    Thanks for hosting this week! These were a big hit at my house!

  52. steph (whisk/spoon) Says:

    sounds like rave reviews all around! thanks to the “consultants” for picking such a tasty treat!

  53. Kayte Says:

    Thank you so much for picking such a great recipe. I had to make them again yesterday as the boys were just begging non-stop. Yours look wonderful. HB to Alex and Congrats on Duke! You asked if my son was going to college this next year, but he is still 17, and he will go the following year. I am already dreading it! He is such a great kid, I know I will miss him terribly. These bars you picked are definitely going on the list of things to send to him while he is there…he is a swimmer, nationally ranked, and I think he is hoping to go to Indiana University as we all went there, so hopefully he will swim for the Cream and Crimson. Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you saw the little comment directed towards you…all in jest as these were a big hit! (I don’t like chocolate at all, hence the jest, but my family all loves it!)

  54. Romaine of Salad in a Jar Says:

    I’m so glad you gave us an excuse to make candy bars…I mean, cookies. Yours look particularly appetizing. Enjoyed the survey of family opinions.

  55. Elizabeth - Cake or Death Says:

    Yay, great pick! Loved these and am so glad you chose them.

  56. Anne Marie Says:

    I need to send a care package to my #1 son, who loves being called that and my #2 son, who doesn’t care what I call him, as long as I fee him. These look like just the ticket.

  57. Oatmeal Chocolate Almost-Candy Bars « Simply {Sweet} Serendipity Says:

    [...] a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to find this Oatmeal Chocolate Almost-Candy Bars recipe posted on a participating blog. Finally, a TWD recipe I could try! I showed the recipe to AW [...]

  58. Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate oatmeal almost-candy bars « my famous recipe Says:

    [...] to Lillian of Confectiona’s Realm for choosing this week’s chocolate oatmeal almost-candy bars.  You can find the recipe on [...]

  59. small girl, big city Says:

    [...] unpronounceable ingredients, and must have chocolate).  I finally landed on Dori Greenspan’s Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars.  That lady has never let me down and tonight was no exception!  These bars were a hit with the [...]

  60. Confectiona’s Realm » Blog Archive » Tuesdays With Dorie: Brrrr-ownies Says:

    [...] went with Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars. They were [...]

  61. Oatmeal Chocolate Almost-Candy Bars — {Sweetly} Serendipity Says:

    [...] a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to find this Oatmeal Chocolate Almost-Candy Bars recipe posted on a participating blog. Finally, a TWD recipe I could try! I showed the recipe to AW [...]

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