Chocolate Oat Bars

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Backstory: I debated between taking oatmeal cookies or brownies to a potluck where both kids and grown-ups would be present. Then I stumbled across this recipe in the Best Loved and Brand New Joy of Cooking 75th Anniversary edition, which combines the best of both.  An oatmeal cookie dough forms the crust for these bar cookies, which is then topped with a thick layer of fudgy frosting.  Then you drop dollops of the remaining dough on top, which forms a crunchy, cobbled surface when baked. What’s not to love? – Susan Puckett

Oatmeal layers:

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 large whole egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Chocolate layer:

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (or semisweet of you prefer)
1 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan lined with foil.

Make the oatmeal layers:

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until well combined. Beat in egg and egg yolk until fluffy.

 In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in oats. Stir this mixture into the butter/brown sugar mixture. Pat about two-thirds of it into the prepared pan; set remaining dough aside.

Make the chocolate layer: In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and salt. Cook and stir over low heat until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and nuts (if using).

Pour the chocolate mixture over the dough in the pan, smoothing with a spatula to cover completely. Dot with the remaining dough. Bake about 25 minutes. Remove to a rack and let cool completely. Cut into bars.

Makes 54 2×1-inch bars

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