Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Repeat: Oatmeal Chocolate Almost Candy Bars

Last weekend on a particularly busy Saturday, I was strolling downtown with my parents in a very unique local neighborhood. We’d stopped into a popular cafe for a couple of their super-fresh fruit smoothies, and since we were all a bit worn out and hungry, my Dad suggested we pick up one of their chocolate oatmeal bars to sample.

They looked a whole lot like Dorie Greenspan’s Oatmeal Chocolate Almost-Candy Bars that I had made a few months back. I told them with a certain measure of certainty that they should go ahead and try it, because I’d make my version for them that night, and they’d be better. And so we tried the brownie, and it was pretty delicious. But I wouldn’t be bested! So after a long afternoon of car-shopping, we came home and I baked.

I made a few changes this time, substituting dried cranberries for the raisins, since raisins were nowhere to be found in the house. I also omitted the peanuts altogether, for much the same reason. Plus I figured, sometimes less is more. So I gave it a go, and I am here to share these delicious photos with you!

They came out well — somehow different than how I remember them, but still quite good. They freeze beautifully, which is important in this family, and after a few days if you heat one up and serve some vanilla bean ice cream over the top, you will find yourself in gooey-brownie-and-melty-ice-cream-heaven. HOLY SMOKES is that combo good. However, it will probably cause a premature heart attack, so I think I’ll indulge sparingly.

But all in all, these bars were a winner again. Something about the crust and crumble topping, which both lend a distinct crunch, contrasting with the creamy chocolate and chewy cranberries — it’s just a no-brainer. Plus I was happy to be able to put these bars in front of my family and prove that just because you buy something from a bakery doesn’t mean it’s as good as what you can make at home.

I made some smashingly successful bite-size cookies tonight that I will share soon. They’re tasty and twisted — my take on my Dad’s request for plain old chocolate chip cookies. But nothing plain comes from here, that’s for sure! Stay tuned…

With love, and sugar.

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