Coconut, chocolate chips and dried cranberries turn oatmeal bars into thrice the treat. (Kate Lawson / The Detroit News)
I don’t know about you, but this winter has been brutal on my waistline. You see, the way I deal with a bitter, cold Sunday is to get on my comfiest clothes, then head to the kitchen. After I’ve had more coffee than a sane person should be allowed, I get out my baking supplies, turn on the oven and get to work.
Baking is the only way I can feel useful on a bitter winter’s day. If it’s too cold, I can’t bring myself to head out to the gym and while I do set aside a few hours for reading or watching a movie, I really do enjoy the idea of making a big mess to create something delicious. The oven is on, the kitchen is warm and Turner Classics is always showing a terrific movie, even if I have seen “Casablanca” a million times. (Are there ever really too many times to see that movie?)
I never know exactly what I’m going to bake until a recipe I come upon tickles my fancy and I know I have a pantry of staples to use. And while cookies are always welcome in my house, cookie bars are even easier and I don’t have to wait long for the baked results.
These oatmeal coconut squares appealed to all my desires, and I added some dried fruit and nuts and increased the butter by a tablespoon to make it more delectable. Think of it as a homemade granola bar. Then put the kettle on for a cup of tea and wait for the snow to melt.
Oatmeal Coconut Squares With Chocolate Chips
Recipe adapted from Gourmet
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup chocolate chips (milk or semisweet)
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
½ cup chopped pecans
½cup dried cherries or cranberries
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9-inch square metal baking pan with a 12- to 14-inch-long sheet of foil, letting excess hang over sides, and butter foil in pan.
Toss together oats, flour, brown sugar, chips, coconut, pecans, cherries, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Beat together butter, egg and vanilla with a fork in another bowl, then stir into oat mixture until incorporated. Spoon batter into baking pan, patting evenly.
Bake in middle of oven until set, about 25 minutes. Remove from pan by lifting ends of foil. Cool on a rack, then cut into 16 squares.
Per serving: 182 calories; 10 g fat (5 g saturated fat; 49 percent calories from fat); 22 g carbohydrates; 26 mg cholesterol; 58 mg sodium; 2 g protein; 1.5 g fiber.