Chocolate Covered Oatmeal Bars

I have a confession to make. I am terrible at reading and following directions. Take instruction manuals, for example. It isn’t uncommon to find the instruction manual to an electronic device I bought a year ago sitting in a drawer, still sealed in it’s plastic wrap. Instruction manuals, I reason, are for people of lesser intelligence.

It may sound like I am bragging mightily here, so I will make a confession too, to even things out, y’know. I don’t know that I can sit and read a manual. I don’t have the attention span. Or the patience. And yet I have both the attention span and the patience to apply sprinkles to a chocolate covered pretzel with a pair of tweezers, to make sure it looks just right. Hmm.

Another kind of directions I rarely, if ever, read? Recipe directions. Ironic, I know. I write them, and it’s all I can do to force myself to reread my own to make sure they are coherent.

This recipe, however, was different. I read the instructions. Then I read them again. And another time. Then once more. Each time, I thought I had missed something. It simply didn’t make sense that it could be quite so simple. But after four times I gave up, and realized that I had a goldmine of a recipe on my hands. This is, quite literally, the simplest recipe I ever made.

Of course, I couldn’t help myself, I had to complicate it a bit. I roasted my own whole almonds, then chopped them myself. By hand. With my magic chef knife. You don’t need to do that. I also measured the bars to make sure they would all be the exact same size. Ok, clearly something doesn’t add up with my earlier confession about my lack of patience. Again, you don’t need to do that. You can take your knife and cut them freehand. But you probably won’t have people making comments such as “I don’t believe you made those. They are obviously from a bakery.”

Chocolate Covered Oatmeal Bars:

Adapted from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion


4 1/2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned, not quick cooking oatmeal)

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

3/4 cup light corn syrup (Karo)

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract


2 cups (1 12 oz package) chocolate chips

2 Tablespoons vegetable shortening (Crisco)

3/4 cup chopped, (toasted) nuts (I used almonds)


Preheat oven to 425. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.

Combine oatmeal, brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir well to combine. Pour into prepared jelly roll pan. Smooth out the batter. (I used the bottom of a loaf pan to achieve the smoothest results.)

Bake 10-14 minutes, or until set. The mixture will be bubbling. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.

When bars are cooled, melt together the chocolate chips and shortening. Spread over bars, using a rubber spatula to smooth it out. Immediately sprinkle with chopped nuts. Place in fridge to cool, then cut into bars.

Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!



  1. Sarah says

    Love this post; I can definitely relate about the short attention span when reading instructions:)
    These are awesome!!

  2. says

    Thanks for having the patience to post this recipe and take the wonderful photos of these delicious looking bars. I love that you toasted the almonds…really brings out the flavour of the nuts. I also love that you applied sprinkles to pretzels with tweezers :)

  3. says

    Oooh these look good! I love that you measured them! That is something I would do lol. Have you seen the Ocd chef cutting board? I got one lol – I think you might like it :)

  4. says

    Oatmeal and chocolate are my two favorite baking items and I’m always looking for a way of using them together! Thanks for the excellent recipe! You think peanut butter could find its way into this recipe or would that just be too much? I’ll have to try it and let you know!

  5. Elaine says

    Thank you so much for posting this! I cut this recipe from a magazine about 15 years ago and loved how quick and easy it was, until I lost the recipe. If you are short of time you can sprinkle the choc chips on top as soon as they come out of the oven and then spread them as they melt, then add the nuts on top.

  6. says

    I SO need to make these (and ASAP!) but have a crucial question: what size is the jelly roll pan? A standard 10×15 or a 9×13 or ? I’ve googled and can’t find the info anywhere and would so appreciate your reply :-)!

  7. says

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I’ve made it twice already! The first time I made no modifications except to add 1/4 tsp salt to the batter and no shortening to the chocolate topping; we loved it. The next time I halved the recipe (6 Tbs. each of butter & Karo, etc.) and used a 9×9 pan with terrific results. For that topping I melted 1 cup of Kraft caramel balls w/ 1 Tbs. cream and a hefty pinch of salt; we loved that, too. Next time? A swirl of chocolate IN the caramel! We love these — and they serve a lot of people, so they’re perfect to send into an office! (Thanks for the heads-up on the bubbling while baking, too! I would’ve thought I ruined them w/o that warning!)

  8. JZ says

    I made these (planning for my daughter’s vort….), and checked them after 10 minutes, at which point only the edges were bubbling. I left them in for the full 14 minutes, and the middle was bubbling, too. When they cooled, the very outermost edges were hard and crunchy, and the middle was soft and chewy, but falling apart a bit. What did I do wrong/how should I fix it? I haven’t added the chocolate yet, which might bind it together, but the bottom of the bar is crumbling, too, so I’d have to encase the whole thing in chocolate. I’m thinking of maybe making a shortbread base, and gluing crumbles on top with the chocolate….


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