aspen oatmeal bars

I had to make some cookies for a meeting this past Thursday. This recipe, from Maida Heatter's Cookies, caught my eye primarily because of its short list of ingredients and its one pot simplicity. (I abhor clean-up tasks.)

Though the original recipe didn't call for this step, I lined my Fat Daddio's (gotta love that brand name!) pan with foil for ease of extraction. You first turn the pan upside-down and wrap the foil around the outside to form the shape. Then, turn it right-side up and insert the shaped foil into the pan.

Observe the dent in the butter. Note to self: strap camera around wrist before attempting aerial photography.

Melt it all down; add baking powder, salt, rolled oats,

pat it into the foil-lined pan, and 25 minutes later,

you have a crunchy, crumbly, super snack. The Daughter prefers calling them Glorious Granola Bars.

Aspen Oatmeal Bars
adapted from Maida Heatter's Cookies

4 oz. unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 cups old-fashioned or quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal

Adjust a rack to the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch cake square pan with foil. Butter foil.

Place the butter and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir over moderate heat until melted.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add the baking powder and stir until smooth. Stir in the salt and the oats. It will be a thick mixture.

Turn the dough into the pan. Pat down into a smooth layer.

Bake for 23-25 minutes. The cookie will still be soft, but it will harden as it cooks. DO NOT BAKE ANY LONGER.

When cool, pull from pan using the foil. Cut the bars into quarters, cut the quarters into whatever size bar you like!

N.B.- The first comment out of both the Son and the Husband's mouths was "This is sweet." So, I tried the recipe a second time with 2 T. less sugar. It resulted in a more crumbly cookie, creating a less desirable texture and more work (wiping and sweeping up all the crumbs.) I also used thick cut oats and wonder if that was another factor in its crumbliness. I guess I'll be trying a third attempt this week.


  1. i LOVE these kind of posts esp w the pictures to see what should be or shouldn't be looking like, and i especially love your terms of endearment for your family (Son, Daughter, Husband)...haha, give Them Hellos from us :)

  2. I love a good, minimalist recipe! When it turns out to your satisfaction, I will try it.

  3. Thanks for the comments! Third Attempt might be later this week and I'll post findings.

  4. You know, this is a gluten-free recipe as long as you buy gluten-free oats. I might try it, but I might try half sugar/half stevia - do you think it will work?

  5. Maybe try using maple syrup or honey. It may cut down on the sweetness, but keep the "stickiness". Just a thought.

  6. @ Susan, yes, I was wondering about a gluten-free possibility for this cookie, particularly since I have a piano student with severe allergies, and wondered if oats was included in her list. (I always feel badly that I make all these cookies that she can't have. She's such a sweetheart and happily eats the carrots and celery sticks.)

    @ René, what ratio would you recommend- like if I cut the b.sugar to 3/4 cup, how much honey would you try?

  7. By weight, you can substitute 1:1. 1 cup dark brown sugar, hard packed = 238grams

    1/4 C b.sugar = 60g of Honey

    Molasses would work too.

  8. Oh that poor dear - just carrot sticks and celery! You need to get online and order some "gluten-free oats" and make these bars. You can't just use any oats b/c of cross-contamination in the oat field - and when making, don't use any porous utensils like wooden spoons or plastic spatulas - just use metal so there's no cross contamination from your kitchen. I'm still going to try the stevia/sugar mix (maybe with agave syrup) to cut back on the carbs.

  9. @ Rene for the equivalents.

    @ Suse, I'll look into the gluten-free oats- and check to see that she isn't allergic to any of the other ingredients.


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