I am hardly alone in my love of Smitten Kitchen and all things Deb. To say I have made about a billion of her recipes — both sweet and savory — is no exaggeration. And to say I look to her site almost every time I develop one of my own, is the cold hard facts. It was only a matter of time, therefore, before I would eventually post one of her recipes here. And that time is now. I have made three recipes (and counting) from Deb’s new book, Smitten Kitchen Every Day, (the bakery style butter cookies, the sour cream coffee cake, and now these chocolate coconut oat bars) and I love them all. I chose to share this recipe with you because I love the name (“Bake Sale Winning-est Gooey Oat Bars” — you had me at gooey). Plus, I love seven layer bars (and this is not unlike one) and I love easy (and this is all that and then some).
Deb recommends that the chocolate coconut oat bars be sold at a school bake sale (hence the name) but I made these for some teenage boys who needed sweets to lure kids into joining their Shakespeare Club, or some such craziness and lo and behold it worked! Bars were eaten; clubs were joined. Win win. So even though these never made their way to an actual sale, they very much attended school. I hope that would make Deb happy.
FYI: I adapted this recipe almost not at all, but where I did so, I made note.
Smitten Kitchen's Bake Sale Winning-est Gooey Oat Bars
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt or table salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt or table salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/3 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup finely shredded coconut sweetened or unsweetened [original recipe says this is optional, but I beg to differ - and I used sweetened . . . ]
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips chopped white or dark chocolate [original recipe offers fruit as an option, but I'm partial to chocolate]
- powdered sugar to finish (I forgot . . .)
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking tray (a quarter sheet pan or cake pan is fine) with parchment paper (if using a cake pan, hang the parchment over the sides so the bars are easier to remove). Lightly coat the sides with nonstick spray.
- Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into chunks, and add it to the bowl, then run the machine until the mixture forms large clumps—that’s right, just keep running it; it might take another 30 seconds for it to come together, but it will. Transfer the dough clumps to the prepared baking pan and press them evenly across the bottom [the original recipe calls for pressing the dough 1/4 of the way up the sides of the pan, as well, but I did not have enough dough with which to do this]. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until very pale golden.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Melt your butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter, stirring frequently, until golden brown bits form at the bottom, about 5 minutes. [I like to brown butter in the microwave in a large bowl on high for 5 to 8 minutes, checking it every minute after five . . .]. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars and salt. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, and stir in the oats, coconut, and chocolate.
- Pour over the parbaked crust, spreading evenly.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is firm and golden and the bars are set or, at most, barely jiggle if shimmied. The bars are much easier to cut cleanly from the fridge, but they are gooiest when warm. Dust with powdered sugar before serving or selling [or luring in potential Shakespeare Club members], for the prettiest finish.
- Do Ahead: Store at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the fridge for longer.