I saw these bars mentioned on a friend’s Facebook status. Andy had baked a batch using her friend Leanne’s recipe which turned out to be the recipe of Leanne’s cousin, Megan! It is an oatmeal bar topped with a combination of peanut butter and chocolate. They are pretty easy to make and they are delicious. The recipe looked like the best one of many I saw online and once I made a batch I didn’t need to try any others.
They would make a wonderful, sweet Valentine for someone special. The first time I cut them into average brownie-sized bars and when I made them again, I cut them smaller, more like a piece of fudge. They’re very rich and the small size makes them less guilt-inducing. I also put them in candy papers for giving.
Rem and I make holiday treats for our neighbors after Christmas and one family is vegan. I read a few articles and blog posts about replacing butter with an equal measure of extra virgin coconut oil. By subbing coconut oil for the butter, this recipe worked beautifully. The oil adds a mild coconut flavor that works well with the other ingredients. I found organic, extra virgin coconut oil at Trader Joe’s.
Here is my slightly adapted recipe:
O Henry Bars
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup (I had light corn syrup in the cupboard and used it, but I think dark corn syrup would work fine too)
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 cups rolled oats (I’ve made it successfully with quick oats)
6 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
pinch of salt, optional (I use unsalted peanut butter and thought the salt helped balance the sweetness in the bar)
* You can substitute 2/3 cup of extra virgin coconut oil for the butter.
Set oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Beat together butter and sugar until well-combined and creamy. Beat in corn syrup and vanilla.
Stir in oats.
Press mixture into a well-buttered (or sprayed with non-stick spray) baking dish. I used a glass 9 x 13 inch Pyrex dish but it could be a little larger and still work, just watch the baking time because it will be thinner.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes – err on the side of underdone rather than overdone. I found that I slightly over-baked the pan with the coconut oil and they were a real challenge to get out of the pan. Delicious but I learned that I should have taken them from the oven sooner.
This picture is the butter version and it looks a little gooey and soft still. The coconut oil version was more toasty and dry looking.
Let bars cool in baking dish.
Once they’re cooled, make the topping: in a medium/small, microwave-safe bowl combine the chocolate chips and peanut butter, and salt, if using.
Heat on high in microwave for 1 minute, remove from microwave and stir.
Continue to heat for 15 second intervals, stirring after each, until chocolate and peanut butter are melted and you can stir them together into a smooth mixture.
Spread chocolate-peanut butter mixture on oat bars.
Chill until set before cutting.
Store in a airtight container in the refrigerator.
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