This past week was my last week at my current clinical placement and our group decided to do something nice for the staff on the unit by writing out a thank you card and providing some treats. Some of the girls purchased cookies and such but I of course took advantage of the opportunity to get in the kitchen and bake. Over the weekend I had bought a large bag of old-fashioned rolled oats because I have decided to try and make my own granola (though I haven't had a chance to do that yet). However I thought I would use the oats in some dessert-type capacity and bring the treats onto the unit.
The thing is...I don't like oats, or rather I don't like oatmeal. Apart from granola, I tend to stay away from any oat-related goods including muffins and cookies. But seeing as how one of my New Year's resolutions involves losing weight and coming up with healthier desserts I figured I should try to embrace oats a little more. Now I'm not going to lie...this recipe is definitely not the healthiest option as it contains a great deal of butter, chocolate, sugar, and a whole can of sweetened condensed milk. That being said, it also makes a large 9" x 13" pan and the bars can be cut into very manageable portions.
The recipe that I found online claimed that these oat fudge bars are supposed to replicate the ones sold by Starbucks. I've never actually tried the Starbucks version so I don't know if this claim is actually true, but they tasted pretty good in my opinion. After cutting and packaging the bars into boxes I had some pieces left over which I gave to my family. My brother said he liked the bars though they would have tasted better if they had a crunchy elements to them. I totally agreed with him because I love to have nuts in my dessert and I'm a bit of a texture snob. Unfortunately I have come to the realization by now that when baking for general events and parties where you don't know everyone, it's best to leave out the nuts in case of any allergies. But if I make these in the future for a more intimate gathering where I know everyone I will definitely include the nuts. My mom tried one too and said she would have just preferred straight dough with chocolate and skip the oats; she claimed they just got in the way of the fudginess of the chocolate. Everyone is entitle to their own opinion of course but sometimes a little bit of variety is nice too.
As for the staff on the unit, they were very thankful of our treats and card. It has been a wonderful six weeks and I really enjoyed working on the unit. I learned so many new things and was able to practice a lot of techniques related to surgical nursing. I'm looking forward to my next rotation but I will definitely miss the unit I was on and my current clinical group and instructor.
Oat Fudge Bars
For the oatmeal layer:
- 1 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- Optional: 1 cup chopped nuts (any variety)
- 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl and whisk to blend.
- Beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add the sugar and continue to beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, scraping the bowl as necessary.
- With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.
- Mix in the oats and nuts, if using, by hand until evenly combined.
- To make the chocolate layer, set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water to create a double-broiler. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, butter, salt, and chocolate chips and warm, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate chips and butter are completely melted.
- Press three quarters of the oatmeal dough into a 9" x 13" pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Pour the chocolate mixture over top and spread evenly using a spatula. Crumble the remaining oatmeal dough and scatter evenly over top of the chocolate.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes or until the chocolate starts pull away slightly from the sides.
- Allow the bars to cool completely before slicing into desired sized bars.