Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Bars

As promised, these puppies were the third variety of cookie I made for my east coast pals, and the rest went with me as bars to work. Unfortunately, because I didn’t think they’d travel well, I only sent them plain oatmeal cookies. (Sorry Fiona!)

The bars were something I hadn’t tried before, and I made them out of laziness. See, I got out of work late that night, and didn’t feel like making batches and batches of cookies. By the time you get them on the sheet, the next batch is done in the oven…(delicious) vicious cycle. I just wanted to eat dinner. So when I saw I could just throw the batter into a pan and leave it for a solid half hour, I was sold.

When I started decorating, I thought about my target audience, as I am wont to do. I didn’t know how everyone would respond to cranberries or even white chocolate. So after I cut the bars, I decided to decorate them (roughly) in 3rds. One third were topped with chopped dried cranberries before being drizzled with white chocolate, one third were only drizzled with white chocolate (I’m on a white chocolate kick lately, what can I say), and the remaining 3rd-ish were left plain. I couldn’t get the thought of white chocolate, cranberry, and oatmeal out of my head, so this was the result.

OATMEAL COOKIES/BARS – With Cranberries and White Chocolate

1/2 cup plus 6 tbsp butter, softened

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

3 cups Quaker Oats® – Uncooked

1/2 cup white chocolate chips – I only used it over 2/3rds of the bars so you can vary this to taste

1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries – Or more, to taste (Again, I only put it on 1/3rd of the bars)

Preheat oven to 350°F

In a food processor- I just have one of these bad boys – use a few pulses to grind the oatmeal into a coarse flour consistency. Not everything will be completely chopped, that’s fine. This is totally optional, but ever since someone gave me the idea (I think his mom makes them this way) this is how I do it. If you want, even leave some out so you still have some whole grains. I leave this up to you.

Beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add vanilla, then add eggs one at a time, beat well after each. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and add them to the wet ingredients. I do this in 2 batches. Mix well.

The batter will be sticky, so drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, about a 1″ dollop, onto ungreased cookie sheets (or line with parchment, silpat, etc.)

Since I was making these cookies for 2 separate reasons, I first baked a dozen plain oatmeal cookies. They bake for 8-10 minutes, I always go for the lower end, cool on the sheets for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

The rest of the batter went into a 13×9 ungreased baking pan. Since there was less batter in there than there ought to have been, I baked for less than the recommended time for bars of 30-35 minutes. (So much for my uninterrupted dinner time.)

I could have baked them even shorter, as it turns out, because they kept browning even after they were out of the oven. Since I was making bars, I didn’t turn them out of the pan. Instead, I put a little fan on them, and cut them right in the pan before they’d cooled off to much.

While they were cooling, I chopped up about 1/4 cup of dried cranberries in my mini processor and melted the white chocolate in a pyrex bowl in the microwave. You could also use a double boiler, but I was lazy. Melt it for 30 seconds, stir it up, then put it back in if it needs. When using smaller chips it will take less time for them to melt all the way through. Let it cool for a bit.

I scattered the cranberries on the mostly cool bars, and used a ziplock bag with a corner snipped off to drizzle the chocolate. Admittedly it was not as easy as it seemed, the chocolate was hot and I guess I snipped the corner unevenly because it spurted out all funny. Oh well, next time I’ll just use a spoon and splatter paint my kitchen like normal.

I don’t think I needed to wait for the bars to cool all the way, which I didn’t anyway, because I was just covering them and leaving them on the counter for the next day. I’d figure if you were serving immediately you might want to wait a little longer.

To make these cookies and bars I adapted the Vanishing Oatmeal Raisins recipe from the bottom of the Quaker Oats lid.

Here’s my end result. They may not be pretty, but I’m assured they tasted good because they were all gone by day’s end at work.

Close up of the cranberry/white chocolate explosion below:

I’d also considered baking the chips in, and even baking the cranberry in, but I realized decorating the top would allow me to make “3 kinds” without actually having to do 3 times the work. Use your judgement and tastebuds to recreate these and make them your own!

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