Friday, February 19, 2010

52 Cookies - Chapter 7

Today I made a bar cookie. I love bar cookies; they are so quick and easy to put together. If you think about it, bar cookies or brownies are very energy efficient because your oven is on for a shorter amount of time. So I would like to think that I did my part in this whole “global preservation” movement everyone seems to be engaging in. If only I could find a way to rationalize the caloric intake while eating these sinful little squares. Let me just start by saying, I made a half recipe of these cookies because I have actually eaten this cookie two times before and I know how dangerous it could be to have too many of these in the house. I have never made them myself, however, before today. I got this recipe from my friend and neighbor, Sharon. Several years ago, long before Owen was born, Evan and Jenna and I hosted a cookie exchange around Christmastime. It was fun. I had never attended or hosted one before and being that cookies are one of my favorite things on earth, it only made sense. I had approximately 10 moms and all of their children in the house and everyone was responsible for bringing a different kind of cookie along with copies of the recipe. We exchanged cookies and recipes and everyone got to go home with a delicious assortment of baked goods to share with their families. Sharon brought “Oh Henry Bars.” I assume the name is derived from the candy bar by the same name, but I can’t say that I remember ever having an Oh Henry candy bar. Do they even make those anymore? I had another cookie exchange the following year and I am embarrassed to admit, I requested, (ok, insisted) that Sharon bring the same cookie again. So much for broadening my horizons and trying new things. No. I wanted Oh Henry Bars and I wanted Sharon to make them for me. They are so over-the-top yummy that it’s hard to stop eating them and therein lies the reason why I have never made them and why when I finally do make them, I only made half of the recipe! Take my advice if you make these; plan on giving some or lots of them away. You will make a friend for life if you do! Thanks Sharon!

Oh Henry Bars (this is the full recipe)
Here’s what you’ll need:
8 cups rolled oats
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup shortening, softened
1 cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
1 ½ cups creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla

Here’s what you do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the brown sugar, butter, shortening, salt and corn syrup in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Here’s a tip if you are ever measuring corn syrup, peanut butter or honey. Spray the inside of your measuring cup with cooking spray. Your ingredients will pour right out with no trouble at all. Once your brown sugar/butter mixture is nice and smooth, go ahead and add the oats. By the way, you can use old fashioned oats too if that’s all you have on-hand. Mix this up so the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the dough. Now, take a 13x9 baking pan and line it with foil to make it easier to cut your cookies into nice, neat little squares. Honestly, it will feel more like you are eating a piece of candy, so I might be cheating here a little bit by calling them cookies. You say tomaaato, I say tomotto! Spread the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of the pan and press down so it’s nice and even across the top. Pop it in the oven for only 15 minutes. I told you these were energy efficient! While that is baking, go ahead and melt the chocolate chips and peanut butter whatever way you see fit. You can place them in a glass mixing bowl and heat it in the microwave or you can do the double-boiler method. Just make sure you heat it over low heat so you don’t scorch the chocolate or peanut butter. Once it’s nearly melted, add the vanilla and stir until all is incorporated and you have a nice spreadable consistency. Control yourself. Your kitchen is beginning to smell really good right about now. Remove melted chocolate from the heat. By now, your cookies are probably ready to come out of the oven. Let them cool for a bit on a wire rack so they can set up; maybe 10-15 minutes. Now, pour the chocolate/peanut butter heaven on the top and spread evenly. Here comes the hardest part of this recipe…waiting. They will fall apart if you try cutting them before they are completely cooled. You can hurry things up a bit by sticking your pan in the fridge. I'd place the pan on a wire rack inside the fridge too so you don't trap any heat on the bottom. Once it has cooled, lift the cookies out by the edge of the foil and place on a cutting board, pull out a nice, long cutting knife and slice off a small square for yourself. You have to try it first before anyone else does. You know…just to make sure they turned out alright. You wouldn’t want anyone getting sick from eating a bad cookie. (chuckle) Whoever heard of a bad cookie?! Depending on how big you cut these, it will vary how many you get. I would venture to say you could easily get 40 cookies from the full recipe and that’s with a generous knife. These should be stored in the refrigerator. Now go get some milk/coffee and enjoy!

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