Have you read Lora Brody’s book, Growing Up on the Chocolate Diet (circa 1985)? It’s a fun read. But even more than the entertaining stories, what I get such a kick out of is how militant she is in her recipe writing.
After one diatribe reflecting on a person who expressed difficulty with her recipe - after admittedly making a couple of tweaks - Brody wrote, “The 'mistake' was that he just figured that he could casually improvise on my recipe. Wrong, mister, wrong...I wrote the recipe that way because that's the way I wanted you to do it...So don’t screw around with my recipes. They say what I mean."
Her authority is with merit, as she claims one cake recipe alone was tested over 200 times.
But her boldly opinionated do-as-I-say rhetoric is a shock to the system - albeit equally respected - in a day and age where inclusivity and a what-do-you-think sentiment is the expectation.
Confidence abound, damn it’s a good recipe.
Makes one 9x13 pan cut into 24 bars.
For the bars:
- 1 ⅓ cups packed dark brown sugar (294 g)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
- 5 ⅓ cups quick-cooking oats (427 g)
- ¾ cup light corn syrup
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the glaze:
- 2 cups bittersweet (60%) chocolate chips (12 oz)
- 1 cup peanut butter (256 g)
For the bars:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the center of the oven.
- Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan and line with parchment, with a 2-inch overhang.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the oats, corn syrup and vanilla and mix on low until combined.
- Use a spatula or your fingertips to evenly spread the oat mixture in the prepared pan.
- Bake 16 minutes. Cool until lukewarm and then spread on the glaze.
For the glaze:
- Place the chocolate chips and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
- Spread over the warm bars, then cool completely or refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars.
- Usually I'm not a fan of the whole "butter and parchment-line" your pan. It seems excessive. But in this recipe, it really does help. The butter ensures the bars will release from the sides the parchment inevitably misses. And leaving a parchment overhang makes it easier to lift out onto a cutting board.
- I realize baking the bars for exactly 16 minutes seems equally arbitrary, and ridiculously specific, all at the same time. I know all ovens are different. I know there are no baking cues provided to indicate when the bars are done. But I have been making this recipe for years, in many different ovens, and the 16 minutes has never steered me wrong. When the bars come out of the oven. everything but the edges will still look gooey and under-baked - don't be misled! Pull them out of the oven at 16 minutes. Trust me on this one.
- As soon as the bars come out of the oven, I make the glaze. In the time it takes to do so (about 5 minutes), the bars will have sufficiently cooled enough to then top with the warm glaze.
- If enjoyed at room temperature, the bars will be especially tender and the glaze extra creamy. But my favorite way to enjoy them is cold and chewy straight out of the fridge.
- Recipe adapted from Growing Up on the Chocolate Diet by Lora Brody.
Keywords: chocolate, peanut butter, oatmeal, gluten free, Lora Brody