Buttery oatmeal crust on the bottom, crispy oatmeal topping and plenty of fudgey goodness packed in the center- there will be nothing left once you serve up a tray of these expresso spiked oatmeal fudge bars.
Whether it’s for a classroom party, the holidays or a birthday, it seems like I am always baking for some occasion. So I am always on the hunt for a new recipe to try and share with friends and family. It’s not that they don’t like eating their favorite lemon bars or cream cheese brownies, but I like to toss in something new to the mix to keep things interesting.
So when I came across this recipe for oatmeal fudge bars, I knew I had to try it. And since the school year was ending and I had signed up to bring in dessert for the end-of-the-year party, I had some ready and willing test subjects ready to sample them.
What is an oatmeal fudge bar?
If you google “oatmeal fudge bar” you get a variety of different looking recipes. Basically, it is a bar recipe where you have an oatmeal based crust on the bottom, a fudge-like center and an oatmeal topping above it. In this particular recipe, the oatmeal base is pressed into the pan and then crumbled on top, giving two slightly different textures with the delicious fudge center.
What type of chocolate do you use in these fudge bars?
I personally like to bake with semi-sweet chocolate chips and that is the chocolate I use for the fudge center of the bars. For more intense chocolatey flavor, you can also use dark chocolate chips. It all depends on your chocolate preferences. And if you are chocolate lover like me, you definitely have your preferences for chocolate!
Why put coffee in chocolate recipes?
If you bake a lot of chocolate recipes, then you probably have noticed that a little bit of coffee is added to the recipe. Ever wonder why? Well, coffee is a wonderful way to enhance the flavor of cocoa powder.
Both coffee and cocoa powder have bitter and fruity flavor tones, so they compliment each other very well. All you need is a little bit of instant coffee, or in this recipe’s case, instant espresso powder, and your fudge bars have even more amazing flavor. Because I was making this for kids, I did use decaffeinated coffee and it did not take away anything from the flavor of these incredibly gooey bars.
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Which cocoa powder is best for brownies and fudge bars?
The type and quality of cocoa powder you use really does make a difference in how your oatmeal fudge bars taste. Cocoa powder in its true natural form is acidic and because baking is science, the acidity can affect how your dessert turns out. In my recipes, if I saw cocoa powder, I mean natural cocoa powder like Hershey’s or Ghirardelli. Most American cocoa powders are NOT Dutch processed.
Dutch processed cocoa powder is treated with an alkali solution, which neutralizes some of the cocoa powder’s natural acidity. It also tends to darken the color and deepen the cocoa flavor. Most European brands are Dutch processed cocoa powder, like Guittard. Just note, that you cannot interchange natural cocoa powder with Dutch processed because of the acidity difference.
Final thoughts on these oatmeal fudge bars
So I showed up to the school party with my platter of oatmeal fudge bars. Those who know me and my culinary experiments immediately descend and the questions begin, “What did you bring us, Laura?! What deliciousness is THIS?!!!” Forget the kids! They were too busy playing to see that the fudge bars were being attacked by the adults!
Once the teachers had their first-, second- and who’s-counting-helpings of fudge bars, the moms volunteering at the party got to try a bite (or two!). These were definitely a crowd pleaser and the fudge bar recipe was quickly handed out to those requesting it. And now you will look like a rock star when you show up with a tray full of these incredible oatmeal fudge bars!
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup old-fashion oatmeal
- 1 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 TBS instant espresso powder
- 2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 4 TBS unsalted butter, chopped
- 3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 325ºF and line one 9"x 9" baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving overhang on all sides.
In a medium-sized bowl mix 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, oatmeal, 1 cup brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and 1/8 tsp salt.
Stir 1/2 cup melted butter into oatmeal mixture until combined.
Set 1 1/4 cups of oatmeal mixture aside.
Press remaining oatmeal mixture firmly into prepared pan.
Bake until light golden brown, about 8 minutes.
In a medium-sized bowl mix together 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, espresso powder and 1/4 tsp salt.
In a microwave safe bowl add chocolate chips and 4 TBS butter and melt on high for in 30 seconds.
Stir and melt again on high for 30 seconds. Continue doing this until butter and chocolate chips are completely melted, making sure you stir the mixture after each 30 second interval.
Whisk eggs into chocolate mixture until combined.
Stir in flour mixture in two additions until combined.
Pour chocolate filling over cooled crust and spread evenly.
Sprinkle with oatmeal mixture over chocolate filling.
Bake until tooth pick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 35-40 minutes.
Transfer pan to cooling rack to cool to room temperature, for at least one hour.
Cut into desired shape. Bars will keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Serving Suggestions: Quick cooking oats will yield a more compact bar. Do not use instant oatmeal.
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Serving Size:1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 204 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 39mg Sodium: 70mg Carbohydrates: 27g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 19g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g