Let me introduce the easiest chocolate walnut oat bars. And so yummy!.
I don’t know where you live, but people here go nuts for anything sweet made with oats. Add chocolate and you have a winning combination. Add dulce de leche and well, they start crushing on you.
This recipe for oat bars hails back to the 80’s. I ripped a recipe from a magazine and pasted it on a blank page in my recipes binder. Yes, I used to have a very sophisticated way of archiving my recipes when I was a teenager, school type black binder with white pages. Hence the name Vintage Kitchen.
The thing is that it made into the 21st century, internet and all, and definitely holds its place. I still have the black binder, of course, and have made many recipes from it that turned out amazing. I have a lot of crap recipes too, of course.
Did I mention they also have dulce de leche? Talk about a synergy of ingredients!.
I use dulce de leche instead of caramel a lot because it’s so readily available here, but a jar of good caramel can be used, it was the original ingredient. The idea is to add an extra layer of sweetness. I think a good – homemade anyone? – raspberry jam might work too. We all know how good chocolate and raspberries are, don’t we?.
I have made this as a last minute barbecue dessert and for crowdy events like family birthday reunions. Talk about easy, fast and crowd-pleasing!. All boxes checked.
- 2 cups 270g all-purpose flour
- 2 cups 180g traditional oats
- 1 cup 200g packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup 225g unsalted butter, melted
- 10 oz. 280g semi-sweet chocolate, chips or chunks
- 1 1/4 cups 150g walnuts, chopped
- 1 1/4 cups 300g dulce de leche or thick caramel sauce
- Preheat oven at 350ºF / 180ºC.
- Spray or butter a 12x8-inch (20x30cm) pan and line bottom and two wider sides with a strip of wax or parchment paper.
- In a large bowl mix flour, oats, sugar, baking soda and salt.
- Add melted butter and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until it’s all wet, no dry parts remaining.
- Reserve 1 1/2 cups of this mixture, and press the remaining onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, until it starts to dry and color a bit.
- Take it out of the oven and immediately scatter the chocolate chunks over the hot base.
- Spread with a spoon or spatula and sprinkle chopped walnuts evenly on top.
- Add the dulce de leche or caramel by spoonfuls on top of the walnuts. It will not cover the whole surface. That’s OK.
- Scatter the reserved 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal mixture and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until it bubbles and starts to color.
- When you take it out of the oven, run a smooth knife along the sides to separate any dulce de leche that might have stuck and make it hard to unmold later.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Lift the paper to take out the whole block from the pan and cut into squares or rectangles.