Chocolate Nut Oat Cookie Bars (and some real talk)

Soooo.... I'm back *insert monkey covering face in shame emoji here*

That's right. After another crazy, hectic yet absolutely wonderful (and probably the best to date) term, I'm back to baking and blogging in full swing. This term did actually feature maaaany good eats and treats, but more memories than pictures were captured, and I have absolutely no shame in admitting so.
Actually, I want to get real here. It's absolutely the same with this blog. I love it and it definitely holds an extremely special place in my life and heart, but I don't force it. I don't set calendar reminders to share posts or make things JUST to blog them. I live a real life that extends far beyond my food and this blog, and I only hope it continues this way. Sure, I could be more organized and measured with my posts, but for me, I am not at this stage. To all my readers and followers, I can see how it may seem unfair or like I'm not fully invested in this, but it's actually quite the opposite: it's because I so very much am that I don't want to share fake or forced content. On that note, I've actually been enjoying my savoury food a lot more now (don't worry, sweet tooth still going strong!), so do be prepared to see more savoury recipes on here from now on. Okay, I think that's it for the day - let's get back to these insanely moreish cookie oat bars. I'm actually off to India tomorrow and if you've read this post, you'll know I love to bake for my grandparents (and they love it too!!). FYI, I'm going to visit them in India. And chocolate and nuts? Definitely their favourite combo! I wanted to whip up something transportable, long-lasting, healthy(ish) and of course, delicious. And that's how these came about. They're full of oats, nuts, dark chocolate and other goodness. They're part cookie, part bar, part blondie. They're whole good, though!

They are insanely easy to put together, require no fancy steps or ingredients and are downright drool-worthy. There's a simple "trick" to getting them right - start by baking them as a whole brownie/blondie style item, then slice into squares, separate them and bake again. This gives them that crusty cookie like edge while keeping the center of each square ever-so-slightly-moist so it doesn't completely dry out or crumble apart.


Makes 15 medium square bars
1/2 cup whole rolled oats
1 cup porridge (quick-cooking) oats
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup unrefined sugar
3 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 large egg, room temperature

Preheat your oven to 170°C and line a 13x9" rectangular tray with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients from the rolled oats all the way down to the nuts. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, coconut oil and egg. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. The mixture should be thick and gloopy. If it, however, seems too dry add a tablespoon to two more of milk until it comes together.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes. 

Remove from the oven, let them cool for not more than 5 minutes. Then, carefully, slice into squares. 

Move the squares from the pan to a large cookie sheet (they may still be pretty hot, so again, be careful!) lined with parchment paper and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes or until nicely golden brown and crusty.

Let them cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Eat a square or two immediately with a glass of milk, and place the rest in an airtight container for up to two weeks. I couldn't resist so ate a couple before reluctantly putting them away... They were made for the grandparents, after all!