Oatmeal Brownie Bars

These bars were fun, fun and more fun!

I procured the recipe from the Land O’ Lakes blog site – and let me tell you, make them sooner rather than later.

Crunchy from the oatmeal base and topping, with a mild chocolate center, plus they are easy to pack/transport – these bars are a winner all around.I can’t say enough good things about them!

Oatmeal Brownie Bars – adapted from Land O’ Lakes

Oatmeal Layer
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup uncooked oats
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold butter, cut into chunks

Brownie Layer
1/3 cup butter
3 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine all oatmeal layer ingredients in large bowl except butter. Cut in 2/3 cup butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 1/4 cups crumb mixture for topping. Press remaining crumbs into greased 13×9-inch baking pan. Bake 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine 1/3 cup butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100% power), stirring twice, until chocolate is melted (30 to 60 seconds). Cool slightly.

Combine sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl; beat at medium speed until well mixed. Add melted chocolate mixture; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add 1 cup flour and baking powder. Beat until well mixed.

Drop chocolate mixture by tablespoonfuls over warm, partially baked crust. Carefully spread brownie layer evenly over crust; top with reserved crumb mixture.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are set. (DO NOT OVERBAKE.) Cool completely; cut into bars.

Nut Brownies

About three weeks ago, my boss discovered that I love to bake.

At that moment, he leaned across my desk and said, “I love brownies – with nuts. Pecans, if you have them. Otherwise, walnuts will do just fine.”

And as fate would have it, the Cookie of The Day (from Martha Stewart) that was delivered to my email inbox was (surprise!) Nut Brownies.

I baked up a full batch and took them to work the next day – and soaked up the praise and compliments. These were thick, cakey and really good. The baking powder in the batter helps them achieve their cake-like status – and they had just the right ratio of chewy-ness to cakey-ness. Not too strong, not too weak –  these were, to paraphase Goldilocks, “just right”.

I plan on making them again, without the nuts, so my family can enjoy them.

Nut Brownies – adapted from Martha Stewart

1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the two sides. Spray the foil with nonstick spray, and set pan aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
Place butter and chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of gently simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes; remove bowl from pan. Add sugar; mix to combine. Add eggs one at a time, and mix to combine. Add flour mixture; mix just until moistened (do not overmix). Fold in nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan for 30 minutes. Using foil overhang, lift brownies out of pan; transfer to a rack to cool completely (still on foil). On a cutting board, using a dampened serrated knife, cut into 16 squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days, if they last that long. Otherwise, freeze for longer storage.

Double Chocolate Mocha Brownies

Ina’s Outrageous Brownies just met their match.

Say WHAT?

Seriously – these brownies come thisclose in flavor, texture and chocolatey-ness to Ina’s.

I was astounded, surprised, awestruck – pick your adjective here, these were fab-u-lous. When I draw up another Top 10 List, these will be Number 1. And yes, Ina’s still have their Number 1 status (on the other list), but aside from the obvious taste requirements, these required a whole lot less effort.

And sometimes, less effort+ almost identical flavor = a very good thing.

Double Chocolate Mocha Brownies – adapted from Epicurious.com

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
5 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups sugar
1 tbs. instant-espresso powder or instant-coffee granules
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 15- by 10- by 1-inch baking pan with foil, allowing 2 inches of foil to hang over ends of pan, and grease foil well (except overhang) with 1 tablespoon butter.
Melt remaining 11 tablespoons butter with unsweetened chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt (mixture will be grainy), then add eggs 1 at a time, whisking after each addition until batter is smooth.
Toss together flour and chocolate chips in another bowl and add to batter, stirring until just combined.
Spread batter evenly in baking pan and bake in middle of oven until top is firm and edges just begin to pull away from sides of pan, about 20 minutes (do not overbake).
Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then carefully lift brownies from pan by grasping both ends of foil and transfer to rack to cool 10 minutes more. Cut into 32 squares and lift brownies off foil with a spatula.