So for the first time ever, I actually have a totally legit, cute story about my baking. And it has nothing to do with me getting frazzled, ruining recipes, running out of ingredients or injuring myself in some manner.
I know- I'm just as shocked as you are.
So a few weeks ago I was totally ready for my triathlon. Training- completed. Taper- reluctantly completed. Clothes and equipment- ready to go. Hotels- booked. I was totally ready for this.
Except one minor detail. I have a dog. A dog that generally needs to be fed and let out on occasion. I mean really, that's about it- she moves only slightly more than your average pieces of furniture, but she does require her kibbles and the occasional potty break. And she most certainly wouldn't be happy spending 60 consecutive hours in her kennel. So that's a problem.
Thank goodness I have very sweet, kind and understanding in-laws that take my dog even when she subsequently poops on their carpet repeatedly (Well now, she showed them who's boss!)
So to say thank you for watching my dog/cleaning poop I decided to bake. Gee- what a shocker. (Here's where this story gets cute.) I gathered up a bunch of potential recipes in my "Recipes: WANT" section of my Internet Explorer bookmarks, and grabbed the closest co-worker who would listen to help me make my decision. As I'm tabbing through showing my wonderful next-door-cube neighbor the recipes- she stops me at a recipe called "Oatmeal Almost Candy Bars."
This co-worker had a friend who passed away a few months ago, Michelle. From what I know of her, she was pretty amazing. Besides being an amazing friend, she was apparently a pretty incredible cook. She catered, so she never shared her recipes, and they were all lost when she passed away.
Well apparently I stumbled across a blog that made one of her patented, crowd pleasing recipes. Michelle always called these "Bob's Brownies," so that's what they shall remain. I got to make these and give some to my co-worker to share with her family- and I'm happy that now they can have these any time they want. It felt wonderful bringing back a little memory that she can now share with her family.
Recipe From: http://annies-eats.net/2010/05/19/chocolate-oatmeal-almost-candy-bars/
For the oatmeal layers:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used Irish)
2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used Mexican)
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup salted honey roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
For the chocolate layer:
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup salted honey roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
To make the oatmeal layer, in a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium-high speed until it is soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, mix in the flour, baking soda and salt just until incorporated. Mix in the oats and peanuts with a rubber spatula until evenly combined.
Reserve 2 cups of the mixture. Place the remaining dough in the prepared pan and press over the bottom of the pan in an even layer.
To make the chocolate layer, combine the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter and salt in a double boiler. Stir occasionally until the mixture is warm and the chocolate chips and butter are melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and peanuts.
Pour the warm chocolate mixture over the oatmeal cookie layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Crumble the remaining oatmeal cookie mixture and scatter evenly over the top of the chocolate.
Bake for 20 -25 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the chocolate layer is starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into bars as desired and serve.