Oatmeal Raisin Bars with Milk Chocolate

I’ve been sick for three days. No one does under-the-weather drama queen quite like I do. I rarely get sick, but when I do I make sure that it lasts twice as long as necessary. You see, I cut back on exactly nothing when I’m sick. I stay at work until I am forced to leave (leaving a trail of Lysol behind me, as any germ-fearing girl should). Actually, now that I’m writing this, once I was sent home (practically evicted from my office), I sat for a minute to rest, then realized that I really should use this “extra time” to clean. Seriously. I did dishes before my second nap of the day. I have made home-cooked meals (with the exception of a takeout curry night, which I thought would clear these painful sinuses), and I bake for comfort. Also I have an irrational aversion to regular doctor’s visits, which is probably the main contributing factor to my prolonged ailments. 

Leaving my own personal issues aside, let’s focus on the “baking for comfort” thing. This is a great plan when I am baking to help someone else feel better, but I would encourage you to strongly reconsider if you think you should bake your own get-well-soon treats. It was a dumb idea. I felt like I was about to faint. I can’t believe that I didn’t confuse corn on the cob with cornstarch. I’m that out of it. 

Anyway, since this has both oatmeal and raisins, it promotes my recovery, right? Well, except that I remembered I had a South African Cadbury delight in my pantry screaming to be used: a fabulous Rum Raisin Milk Chocolate bar. 

I don’t consider myself to be plagued with the chocoholism that runs rampant in my family – a deep, dark (chocolate) family secrets – but there is something magical about using a chocolate bar in a recipe. Chocolate chips are fantastic, but a chocolate bar melts into liquid puddles of non-uniform size. When you bite into something with chopped up chocolate bits, you just know the difference. Unless, like me, you have been relegated to mouth breathing a la Mops for three days, in which case you won’t really taste much. But I remember the days before the cold and these memories are all I have. See, I told you I’m ridiculous about being slightly sick. 

Oatmeal Raisin Bars with Milk Chocolate

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s oatmeal raisin bars recipe from “Everyday Food,” June 2008. 

You will need:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil 
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch 
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 1/3 cups raisins
  • 1 bar chocolate, chopped into tiny pieces
  • Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8×8 or larger rectangle glass dish (depending on your desired thickness. I like mine ever-so-slightly on the thin side so they are crunchy on the outsides and soft in the middle).
  • Mix together all of the ingredients before flour (butter, sugars, honey, coconut oil, cornstarch, sea salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract). Mix thoroughly until well combined. 
  • Stir in the flour slowly (1/3 a cup at a time) until it is all incorporated. 
  • Add in oats, raisins, and chocolate pieces (now of course you really need to try at least a few of the chocolate pieces before you put them into the recipe!) until just combined. 
  • Bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on the pan and thickness of the bars) and then eat warm, with vanilla ice cream, if at all possible. 
  • Shamelessly lick melted chocolate off your lips. And nose. Heck I think she could reach her eyeballs with that tongue!

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