Sharing is Caring

I love baking, and of course, love eating those things I bake too. But unfortunately, its not always a good idea for us to have all kids of sweets and carb-a-licousness sitting around our house. So, this year, I decided to start sharing a bit more - not only will this spread the love a little, but it'll also help the waistline. Which is necessary. So I'm caring for myself and caring for the people around me too.

(If those people around me are also looking to help their waistlines, well, I'll have to think about that one...)

This is one that went over particularly well. Think of these bars as being just like fruit streusel bars. Except swap out the fruit for a really creamy, chocolaty filling. But the best part is that it makes a huge pan of bars, so there's enough for you and enough to share! (Or, as in our case last week, even enough for you, enough for your husband to share at work, and enough for me to share at work.)

And since we're sharing, one tip for you today. I've started using dark chocolate chips almost exclusively in my baking. And the most reliable source for buying them (in my case) has been Aldi. The chips don't use corn syrup, only sugar as a sweetener, and since the chips are 60% cacao, they're not super-sweet. So even if you're making somehting with lots of sugar, it doesn't turn out to be over-the-top sweet. And dark chocolate is healthy, isn't it?!

So look for these when you go to make these bars:

Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Bars
From my mom's recipe box, credited to my aunt, Linda Rinsema

Crumb Crust
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt

12 oz dark chocolate chips
1 can Eagle sweetened condensed milk (fat-free is fine)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugars. Add each egg one at a time. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until it forms sticky crumbs.

Press 2/3 of the crumb mixture into the bottom of a jelly roll pan (10x15), lightly greased with shortening. The layer will be thin, just make sure none of the pan is showing through.

In a medium saucepan, melt together all of the filling ingredients over medium heat. Stir constantly to avoid scorching. Once melted smooth, spread chocolate over bottom layer leaving 1/4 inch around the sides. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the top of the chocolate and press in lightly.

Bake for 25 minutes until oatmeal mixture is set. Cool completely before cutting.

Makes 24 bars

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