We have a problem.
My two-year-old daughter? She’s just like me.
Oh sure, she’s got her own unique personality. She’s fun and spunky and sassy and creative and silly and dramatic all in her own way. But she also yells out, “COOKIE!” from the back seat of the car as soon as we drive past the big red bullseye on the Target sign, anticipating the free treat given to her from the bakery counter every time we shop there. Her arms swing up and down in delight at the sight — the mere mention — of ice cream. She’s been asking for a doughnut after breakfast, after lunch and after dinner since last Saturday, when she received one on a special occasion (OK, and the Saturday before that, too). She’s got so much of her own character, and some of her dad’s, too, but that sweet tooth? I take full credit/blame for that.
The truth is, we can’t go long without sweets in this house. We’ve tried, but it just doesn’t make for a very happy home. With two hangry sweet tooth-ed girls under this roof, my husband has learned there must always be a stash of chocolate somewhere, at the very least. So we strive for balance. And this week, balance looks like whole wheat oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bars — one for the babe, and one for the mama. (OK, maybe two for the mama.)
Second only to my love of the chocolate chip cookie is my love of the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, and in bar form, when they are even softer and chewier and chocolatey-er, my sweet tooth is full-on swooning. I’ve made these before with regular flour and they are obviously delicious, but this time, when my summer figure (LOLZ) requested a little bit of virtue, I thought I’d give them a try with white whole wheat flour, which offers the nutritional benefits of wheat flour but without the sometimes-harsh taste (The Kitchn does a great job of explaining more about it here). It’s my go-to flour when I want a healthier halo on my baked goods without having to sacrifice their texture of flavor.
As I suspected, white whole wheat flour works beautifully in these oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bars, and I daresay it makes them even more tender than they are with all-purpose flour. Of course, I didn’t spend too much time thinking about it, because I was too busy oohing and ahhing over the melty chocolate speckled throughout each bar and the sprinkle of sea salt on top that brings them to that next-level of yum. I may also have been too busy eating one, too, while wondering how I was going to sneak another one past Avery. She’s as cunning as I am when it comes to swiping things when no one is looking.
The original batch of these bars is already near its end, and I can only imagine the horror that will ensue when any of us goes to grab the last one and there’s nothing to grab. Good thing these are so easy to make (one bowl, you guys! My fave). Crisis averted. Big and little sweet tooths satisfied. Summer figures saved (mostly).
- 2½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
- Sea salt, for topping (optional)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray.
- In large bowl, stir oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt to combine. Stir in melted butter, eggs and vanilla until dough forms. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.
- Spread and press half of dough in even layer into bottom of prepared pan. Top with another ¼ cup chocolate chips. Crumble remaining dough over top, press down slightly. Top with remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle a pinch or two of sea salt over top just after baking, if desired. Cool completely in pan before cutting into bars, about 1 hour.