Hi Long Lost Friends! Since it’s been a little while since I’ve written, I thought that such a salutation was appropriate. The last time I wrote, I was pregnant. Well, not anymore! Grace joined our family on November 16th, and Eric and I couldn’t have been happier. Okay, not happier at those 4 A.M. feedings, but other than that, Grace has been such a blessing. Matthew has adjusted pretty well too; being all of 2, it’s hard to ask for more. But other than trying to poke her in the eyes, (what is up with little ones fascinated by eyes??), he has been a good older brother–alerting me when she cries, laying down next to her and giving her hugs, and sharing his toys or food with Grace, because “Gracie wants it Mommy,” as he says.
Because I have been doing most of the feedings, and taking care of a toddler while Eric is at work, baking has not been high on my list. (I didn’t realize how easy taking care of one kid was!) But, oh, how I missed it. I would fantasize about all that I wanted to bake during late night feedings, clip out recipes of every kind from anywhere I could find them, and journal in my notebook of what I wanted to make and how I wanted to tweak it. (Yes, I’m weird like that.) My dry spell ended a few days ago, even though half of me wanted to take a nap. The kitchen was calling my name and it was too strong to resist.
I am certainly glad I listened to my “better half.” I think I ate 3/4 of these innocent little bars! A few things to note about this recipe, other than it tastes fantastic. One: it was made and baked in under an hour. Two: it has enough chocolate to hit any chocolate craving, large or small. And lately, mine have been large. Especially at 4 A.M. Share the joy of these bars this Christmas season. I know your friends will thank you for it. Enjoy! xoxo
Chocolate Revel Bars
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c packed brown sugar
1 t baking soda
2 t vanilla
2 ½ c flour
3 c rolled oats
1 ½ c semisweet chocolate chips
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside 2 T butter. In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, cream the remaining butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and baking soda and beat until fully combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs and 2 t vanilla. Add about 2 cups of the flour, mixing until just combined, and add the remaining flour and all the oats by hand, using a spatula.
For the chocolate mixture, combine the chips, reserved butter, and sweetened condensed milk in a double boiler and gently melt. Once the mixture has fully melted, remove from heat and mix in the remaining 2 t vanilla. Let mixture cool slightly.
Press about 2/3s of the oat mixture into an ungreased 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan, making even and going to the edge. Pour the chocolate mixture on top, spreading evenly. With the remaining 1/3 oat mixture, sprinkle (crumble) it over the chocolate mixture, spacing evenly over the top.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top of the bars are golden brown. Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Recipe Source: adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies Magazine, 2002 edition
Family photographs courtesy of Leah Biado-Luis