Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Like a Chunky bar wrapped in a delicious oatmeal peanut cookie...

I already had an idea in mind when I asked Jeff what item he would like for the weekly Wednesday Treat Day - all he requested was that it contained oats and peanuts. Score! I thought to myself when I ran through the ingredient list in these Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars that I had marked to try.

Have you ever had one of those Nestle Chunky candy bars? You can still find these retro candy bars here and there, but they can be hard to come by. I haven't had one in ages, but after Jeff took a bite from his "quality control" piece of these bars, that name was the first thing he said! While these bars are not quite the same, the thick fudgy middle layer has flavors that are reminiscent - chocolate (updated to bittersweet!), raisins and peanuts.

First, the bottom layer is like a rich and sturdy oatmeal cookie laced with chunky peanuts - a small portion is set aside and we'll get to that in a bit. While firm, the base is still fairly chewy from a generous amount of brown sugar - however, because the peanuts are salted, this helps keep the balance to ensure it is not cloyingly sweet. The dough is not notably sticky, but it is not dry and crumbly either - if you find it tough to press the dough into an even layer, place a sheet of plastic wrap on top to help you move it around the pan.

Next, the studded chocolate layer is prepared - this is like a quick fudge made simply by heating sweetened condensed milk with bittersweet chocolate and a couple pats of butter. You want to work with this mixture warm as it will begin to stiffen as it cools - when the mixture is melted and smooth, a shot of vanilla, plump golden raisins and more crunchy salted peanuts are stirred in. You can use golden or dark raisins here, but make sure they are nice and moist - if the raisins are dry, just steep them in boiling water for a couple minutes and pat them dry before adding them.

Now is when we bring back the reserved oatmeal cookie dough that was set aside. You want to drop chunks of this mixture all over the fudge layer - you are not looking to smooth it together as you want it lumpy and bumpy so don't try and be perfect here. You want the chunks to be somewhat large - about marble size or a little bigger as they will spread just a bit and connect together. This way you get those beautiful buttery cookie bits strewn all over the top. Serve them at room temperature or chilled - either way, these neat and clean squares will be gone in no time!

Sadly, I can't comment myself on the taste of the finished product as I have to eliminate(!!) chocolate due to health issues for the next couple of months - so I hope I was able to describe them well enough from Jeff's feedback. I did sneak several tastes of the delicious cookie dough though! Don't expect me to stop baking with chocolate however; I don't think we'll have a problem finding people to let us know how whatever it may be came out (well, it would have to get past Jeff first!).


  1. This looks absolutely delicious! I plan on making this soon, I hope. :)

  2. OMG those look good! My mouth is watering LOL

  3. I made another version of these from the Betty Crocker cookbook (minus the peanuts and raisins), and they were divine!

  4. Joe,
    You are absolutely killing me and my new year's diet!

  5. Those look and sound wonderful!

  6. Yumm! I know some chocolate lovers who will go nuts for these. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  7. OMG! These are just food porn :) Definitely adding these to my to-try pile.

  8. Lemony - Thank you!

    Val - Get thee in the kitchen and give them a go!

    Anon - great idea for raisin/nut haters!

    Tracy - hee hee! I saw your son on the Food Network beef challenge!

    Sorina - Thanks!

    Cookie baker - that middle layer is what really grabbed my attention and made me give the recipe a try!

    Anon - Thank you!

  9. I'm with you Tracy!

    I haven't had a Chunky bar in ages, but I do like them. These look fabulous. But I might have to remove your blog's feed from my Yahoo page until I lose some weight......... ;)

  10. My 2nd attempt to post. I guess it did not work the other time. Your lucky to have a recipe of Dorie that you liked. I tried two and it was not a success. The last one was Caramel Peanut Brownie Cake. Was not good and went into the garbage. But I'm really tempted to try your Chunky Bar. Thanks for the review.

  11. Alysha - Bah!

    Helene - You actually posted on the recipe, to which I replied... hee hee! What happened to your cake and other recipe? We've only had good success with her stuff!

  12. Too funny. The cake itself was not good at all. I can't hardly explain how it tasted like. The top is a caramel base, you start with water and sugar and heat it until deep amber than you add cream. In the cake there is 5 on of bittersweet chocolate. So I was thinking that I would get a rich velvet chocolate texture and that the top would taste like almost creamy fudge. But not at all.

  13. Helene - Oh no! It looked so good too! =( Sorry it didn't work out.