Nutty whole grain oats sandwich a creamy, fudgy layer of chocolate filling in these decadent Oat Fudge Bars. They're just like the ones in Starbucks, and just as delicious when made gluten free. (Skip to recipe.)
Want to hone up on your math skills? Well here's an important equation for you to learn:
Chewy nutty oats + a thick fudgy chocolate layer + more chewy oats = √chocolate lover's heaven.
Multiply that by 24 decadent bars. Now subtract some to hide for yourself for later, then divide the rest among a few friends, and add a cup of hot coffee or a glass of cold milk. There, you've got your math homework done. You get an A+.
When I've got a writing project to do, one of my favourite indulgences has been to take my computer and a stack of cookbooks to read for
procrastination research and head to Starbucks to get some work done. The great background music, the gentle hum of conversation, and the enticing aroma of coffee permeating the air all add to the ambience. But secretly, the star attraction is the possibility of succumbing to the siren call of one of those indulgent oat fudge bars. Who can resist melded layers of oaty chocolatey deliciousness?
The bottom layer consists of chewy whole grain oats, the middle layer is an unctuous chocolate fudge, and on top are more dollops of that nubbly oat layer. So simple, yet it adds up to such a great combination of flavours and textures. Okay, there's only a little bit of health benefit in the rolled oats, so I've gotta say, these Oat Fudge Bars are basically a pure indulgence; a delicious treat. (No, you shouldn't have them for breakfast, but who am I to stop you if you're one of those rebellious students who doesn't listen to the teacher?)
Oat Fudge Bars are Easy and Delicious
These bars are quick to make and they make a large batch - but luckily they keep well in the fridge, they freeze well, and they're great for sharing. I like to wrap individual bars, then freeze them, and I can pop one, frozen, into a bag lunch any time I need to pack a pick-me-up. They're a nice sturdy bar that travels well, too, so they're great for picnics, potlucks, and parties.
I served them as an easy dessert after our (small group) apple pressing and wiener roast earlier this fall, and packed them along for our hike up to the Athabasca Lookout when the fall colours were at their stunning best. Sitting at the top and looking out over this striking valley, nibbling one of these tasty bars, was a highlight of this autumn season.
The first time I tasted one of these Oat Fudge Bars in Starbucks, I knew I had eaten them before. I was transported back to my early twenties, teaching school in Calgary, and devouring these bars at many of our staff lunches. The recipe was requested by everyone at the time, and got copied into my notebook of handwritten recipe 'keepers'. I made them at home many times over the years, and then - as recipes do - it kind of got forgotten and I moved on. Other delicious goodies became family staples. Tasting that first bar in Starbucks a couple years ago made me go and dig out my old recipe for Oatmeal Fudge Bars and make it again. Lo and behold - it was basically the same as the one in the coffee shop!
So here is the recipe to share with you. For these days when getting out to sit in a coffee shop seems like an activity from another lifetime, you can enjoy a delicious Oat Fudge Bar in the comfort of your own kitchen. All you need to do is put on some favourite music, grab a good book to read, and if you serve your treat with a Whipped Coffee, or maybe a Cold Brew Iced Coffee, or even a glass of cold Cashew Milk, you'll be able to pretend you're sitting in a cool café somewhere and feel that the world is a wonderful place.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: My original recipe uses 2½ cups of regular all-purpose flour, but I've replaced that with 3 cups of oat flour to make the bars gluten free (you can make them either way).
Oat flour is available at health food stores, but it's really easy to make your own. Just whizz 1 heaping cup of oats at a time in a blender until it is ground to fine flour. 1 heaping cup of oats makes about 1 cup of oat flour. Use a scale for the most accurate results (you need 350gms of gluten free oats for this recipe).
Oat Fudge Bars (Gluten Free Copycat Starbucks Recipe)
for the oat layers:
- 1 cup (227gms) butter
- 1½ cups (320gms) brown sugar, lightly packed (or coconut sugar)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups (350gms) oat flour, gluten free (or 2½ cups/350gms regular all-purpose flour for non-gluten-free)
- 3 cups (300gms) old-fashioned rolled oats, gluten free if necessary
for the fudge layer:
- 2 cups (12oz/340gms) chocolate chips
- 1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a rimmed cookie sheet that measures 15½" x 10 ½" x 1" (39 x 27 x 2.5 cm), or use a 9 x 13" pan, but the bars will be thicker.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs and beat until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, baking soda, and salt.
Add the oat flour (or regular flour) and rolled oats and beat until well combined. Leave the batter to rest for 10 minutes so the oats can absorb some of the moisture.
Make the fudge layer: in a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and salt. Heat over low heat, stirring often, until most of the chocolate chips are melted. Remove from the heat and continue stirring until all the chocolate chips are melted and the fudge is glossy. Stir in the vanilla.
Put ⅔ of the oat batter into the greased cookie sheet (the batter will still be quite sticky). Fill a glass with cold water, and use the back of a large wet spoon to spread the batter out evenly in the pan, dipping the spoon into the water whenever it gets sticky.
Spread the chocolate fudge out evenly over the base.
Use your fingers or a teaspoon to drop bits of the remaining oat batter over the fudge, dotting them evenly and leaving a lot of the fudge mixture peeping through the blobs. The fudge should be about half covered with blobs of oat mixture.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges are just getting golden.
Allow to cool completely in the pan and cut into 24 squares (6 rows of 4)
Makes 2 dozen bars. (Extras, if there are any, freeze well for up to 3 months. Pack the bars in single layers with wax paper between the layers in an airtight container, or individually wrapped in plastic cling film then put into a container to freeze for easy lunchbox packing,).
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