Crunchy Oat Fudge Bars

Adapted from First Look, Then Cook.

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Crust and topping
1 c. Rolled oats
1/4 c. Flax seeds
2/3 c. Brown sugar, unpacked
3/4 c. Whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1/4 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking soda
1/8 tsp Salt
1/4 c. Unsalted butter, melted

Filling
1/4 c. All-purpose flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1.5 c. Semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp Unsalted butter
1 Large egg, beaten
1 tsp Vanilla
2 tsp Instant coffee (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease an 8" square pan or use a silicone square pan.

Combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, flax seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir in melted butter.  Set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture for the topping.

Press the remaining oat mixture onto the bottom of the square baking pan.  Bake for 8 min, until the crust is golden brown.

Set the crust aside to cool while you prepare the fudge filling.

Melt chocolate chips with the butter in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.  Allow the chocolate mixture to cool for 10-15 min (should be able to touch it comfortably with your finger).

Combine flour, sugar, salt and instant coffee (if using).

Whisk the egg and vanilla into the cooled chocolate.  Add the flour mixture and blend well.

Spread the fudge filling on the crust.  Sprinkle the reserved oat topping on top.  Bake for 25-30 min, until the toothpick comes out mostly clean with only a few clumps stuck to it.

Allow the bars to cool before cutting.

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My comments:

Mmmm...these bars are good, really good.  The crust and topping are amazing.  It's crunchy with just the perfect firmness and not overly sweet.  In fact, as I'm sitting here thinking about what to write about the crust, I am hit with a wonderful idea!!  Why not bake simple oat bars with the crust recipe?  *gasp*  Brilliant!!  At least I think so.  But this little experiment will have to wait for another night.  :)

I must admit, I had to give these bars time to grow on me.  That was probably my own fault because I used dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate chips.  It was the only thing I had at home because I was a bit obsessed with making Salty Cracker Toffee over the Christmas season, then the dark chocolate chips went on sale and I stocked up.  I had 6 bags of these dark chocolate chips in the cupboard and I was too embarrassed to buy more chocolate chips.  These dark chocolate chips are awesome but they made the fudge part too rich.  The chocolate was just a tad overpowering.

Desserts are not necessarily bad for you as long as you practice moderation.  Well, I don't do moderation.  So it's no surprise that I had 3 of these in 1 hour and I have every intention of going back to the kitchen for a 4th.  :P  For this reason, I try to hide some good stuff in my baking to alleviate the guilt.  I use whole wheat flour whenever I can and I love using flax seeds in my baking.  Flax seeds are very nutritious and I find it gives the bake goods a hint of nutty flavour.

Anyhow, it's getting late.  I'm going to grab one more bar before calling it a night.  :)  Stay tune for more recipes to come in the next week or so.  I have a few avocado recipes lined up for this week.  :)

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