Last weekend I had the joyous, nay rapturous, pleasure of a lazy Sunday. With nothing to do and the weather outside a delightful October crisp, baking was deemed obligatory. And not just any baking. Comfort baking. Low fat vegetables need not apply.
At such times, I turn to the Culinary Canon of the US, that is, the inimitable Joy of Cooking, now in its 154th edition (or something along the lines). It has provided the much-needed comfort food of home on many a desperate occasion. When I read the recipe I knew these would itch that longing-for-US-baked-goods scratch. And indeed. That's exactly what they did. Because just plain ol' chocolate wouldn't suffice for such Sundays, I also threw some peanut butter on top. You know, just to make it extra comfy. These bars are like the food version of your favorite old sweater. Nothing surprising. Nothing extravagant. But like a hug from home.
Makes one 13x9'' dish (about 12 bars)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) + 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (I used light brown)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons + 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose (or plain) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk
3/4 chopped walnuts
Optional: peanut butter or nutella
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
Beat together the 3/4 cup butter and brown sugar.
Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside.
Whisk together in a separate bowl the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the oats.
Combine the chocolate chips, condensed milk, 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, and salt in a medium saucepan and stir over the low heat until smooth. Stir in 3/4 teaspoon vanilla and the walnuts.
Remove the mixture from the heat. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Pat about two thirds of it into the baking pan. Pour the chocolate mixture over all, then dot with the remaining batter. At this point, if you feel like adding peanut butter, add teaspoon scoops to the top of the mixture.
Bake about 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.