Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dark Chocolate and Raisins

During the years I was baking professionally the holiday baking list was extensive. Numerous types of cookies and bars, multiple recipes of fudge, along with cakes, pies, and confections were made for my customers. I tried to include family favorites, but that was not always possible.

Since closing my business, I now rotate through the holiday baking list. There are several favorites that always make it onto the list--this recipe is one of them.

It has been in my recipe box for over thirty years, and used to be made much more frequently. It was relegated to the holiday baking list when I realized that with this recipe, DH had no self-control. He would consume the entire pan all by his lonesome within hours of its being cut and put in the cookie jar. He has a particular fondness for the combined flavors of dark chocolate and raisins. The crunchy richness of the oatmeal “crust” enhances the gustatory experience making these bars hard to resist and addictive!

Chocolate Raisin Oat Bars
1 15 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 c. dark raisins
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1-1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
2-1/2 c. old fashioned oats (not instant)

In the top of a double boiler combine the condensed milk and bittersweet chocolate. Heat over boiling water until chocolate melts. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the raisins. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Set aside.

Beat together the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the flour, salt, and baking soda and beat gently to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the oats, and beat to combine. The mixture will be crumbly.

Press half the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover with chocolate raisin mixture, and spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining oatmeal mixture on top.

Bake until edges are lightly browned and slightly puffed, about 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Cut into 1 x 2 inch bars.

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