Our apologies, we've been entirely MIA this past week.
It's been a total zoo.
Finishing the first year of medical school! Graduation!
While it may seem counter-intuitive to finish one's first year before undergraduate graduation, the odd sequence of events did not deter from the happiness and chaos that is the end of the year.
So that's my excuse.
Em's excuse? Well, she was deemed photographer of festivities and had to tag along taking picture after picture.
But before we get to the loveliness that are these Oatmeal Fudge Bars...
I've been feeling a little sentimental. Actually, very sentimental.
This year was absolute craziness. Learning all sorts of random things, meeting people from around the country ( really gotta move to California...), all the while attempting to maintain some sort of sanity. I've loved it all -well, most of it. And suddenly, like I've run into a brick wall, everyone disperses into all corners of the world. It's incredibly jarring, but makes me more appreciative of what I've shared with my friends and classmates.
But more importantly, Em and M are once again reunited and are baking once again!
I'm grateful for the time we can spend together. =)
Can't you just taste the chocolate fudge-y goodness?These bars taste like a chocolate chip cookie, but with an awesome chocolate explosion and crispy top -all in bar form.
The bars take slightly more time than other recipes as the masters at America's Test Kitchen have deemed it necessary to let the bottom layer cool for about an hour before adding the chocolate. Just follow their directions!
WEGMANS LOVE. Oh how I missed you. Please open ASAP near me.
The oatmeal crumble...
ATK suggests making a foil sling for easy clean up and serving. Just fold two pieces of foil to meet the 8 inch square pan.
Crunch top? Melt-y chocolate? Irresistable!
Recipe (from America's Test Kitchen)
Crust and Topping
1 cup quick cooking oats (you can use Old-fashioned rolled oats, but it'll be a bit more chewy)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) of butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp instant espresso or instant coffee
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (9 oz)
2 tbsp butter
1 large egg
Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 325 degrees Farenheit.
Line an 8 in. square baking pan with a foil sling and grease the foil.
Whisk the oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
Sir in the melted butter until combined. Reserve 3/4 cup of the oat mixture for the topping.
Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture into the pan and press into an even layer with the bottom of a measuring cup.
Bake crust about 8 min., until light golden brown. Let cool completely about 1 hour.
For the filling: whisk flour, sugar, instant espresso, and salt together in medium bowl.
Melt chocolate chips and butter together in the microwave on 30 second intervals with stirring in between.
Let chocolate cool slightly and whisk in egg until combined.
Stir in flour mixture until just incorporated.
Heat oven again to 325 degrees.
Spread filling evenly over crust and smooth. Sprinkle with the reserved oat topping.
Bake 25-30 minutes, until inserted toothpick into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached and the filling begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Rotate pan halfway through baking.
Let the bars cool completely in the pan for about 2 hours. Remove bars using foil and cut into squares to serve.
A few notes...
These bars didn't exactly turn out like the picture from ATK...not sure why. But they still tasted amazing.
Ever have trouble melting chocolate? The true way is to use the stove and double boiler (water on the bottom, chocolate in a separate bowl on top) but we're lazy.
Thus, the microwave is our best friend. The problem is that if there is any bit of water or if you overheat it, the chocolate will get all icky and "seize".
The reason? The sugar in chocolate is hydrophilic and once water gets into the chocolate, the sugar and water combine. This totally disrupts the emulsion/dispersion thing going on in chocolate. If the chocolate has already seized, try adding a little water or some vegetable oil. This might not always work, but it's worth the try.