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Tuesday
Jun142011

Chocolate Almond Oat Bars

Chocolate Almond Oat Bar

I've kept a little secret from you for much too long. A year has passed, over a hundred recipes have been shared, and still I haven't said a word. It's about time I confess. If you've been following for awhile, you may have even picked up on it. Can you guess what it is?

I'm allergic to tree nuts.

I'll admit, it's a little (a lot) ironic for a baker. Tree nuts are an anchor for most bakers. They are the backbone to many, many delicious baked goods. Yet, this secret world of nuts will be forever lost on me. Hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews—I will never know their unique flavors. No sticky, gooey pecan pie at Thanksgiving. No rich, moist carrot cakes or warm banana bread sprinkled with walnuts. Perhaps most devastating of all, I will never get to enjoy a thick spread of nutella on a warm piece of toast (well, not unless I want to end up in the emergency room).

Now that's a real shame.

Chocolate Almond Oat Bar

I have come to terms with this over the years. It wasn't hard. To some extent, you can't miss what you've never had. I can dream about hazelnut crusts, nutella brownies, or white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, especially when other food bloggers flaunt these beautiful photos in my face, but I can't imagine these tastes so they become the stuff of far off dreams. Occasionally, I will smell a jar of nutella and become wistful, but that's as tragic as my story gets.

Also, that's a little weird, isn't it? Perhaps that's one confession too far...

Now that I've shared this not-so-classified information, you're probably wondering why on earth I just made chocolate almond oat bars. I'd wonder, too. For some unknown (but miraculously delicious) reason, I am not allergic to almonds, despite the fact that I am deathly allergic to the other tree nuts. My reasoning is that almonds are the most mild of the tree nuts and are more related to fruits (like the peach) than to the other tree nuts. In fact, almonds grown from undomesticated almond trees actually have small amounts of cyanide in them just like peach pits. Regardless, I don't plan to question my almond invincibility. I wouldn't want to jinx it.

Confessing my tree nut allergy isn't going to change anything around here. I fully intend to keep sharing my love for chocolate and decadent desserts. Just don't come looking to me for a recipe for pistachio pudding.

Chocolate Almond Oat Bar

These Chocolate Almond Oat Bars are the very definition of addictive. They are soft, gooey, and I-can't-stop-eating-them-please-hide-them-from-me delicious. I was inspired to make these from the Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies I made recently. The combination of oats, chocolate, and almonds in the cookie was so uniquely delicious, I wanted to try out the medley with another dessert. These do not disappoint. As several of my taste testers said, "These are good. Too good."

One Year Ago: Twix Cookies

Chocolate Almond Oat Bars
Adapted from the Great American Favorite Brand Name Cookbook

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds (or other nut of choice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and butter. Mix until evenly incorporated. Reserve 1/2 cup of oat mixture. Press the rest evenly into a 9 x 13" pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Pour sweetened condensed milk on top of cookie base and spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, sliced almonds, and reserved oats. Bake an additional 25-30 minutes, or until bars are lightly browned.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Reader Comments (21)

Oh man oh man... these remind me of a butterscotch bar recipe that my aunt always made when I was younger. It had that ooey gooey consistency that is just simply amazing.
And that's so interesting that you can have almonds but not the other tree nuts! Even though I can eat the others, I'd have to say almonds are my favorite, so maybe that's some consolation? Hmmm and I'll bet a chocolate-almond spread a la nutella would be divine....
Ugh...I'm so sorry about your allergy. That totally sucks. But, you are so positive! :-) These chocolate almond bars look fabulous! Delicious, moist and I'm sure very addicting. :-D
These sound delicious! However - you mention reserving half the oat mixture, and then don't say what to do with it - do you put it on top of the condensed milk before topping with the chocolate and almonds? Or don't you need it? Thanks!
06.15.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie
I'm confused about "reserve half of the oat mixture." For when? Am I missing something?
06.15.2011 | Unregistered Commenterrhonda
All these confessions!
06.15.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKS
These look out of this world amazing - it's my first visit - you have a beautiful blog!
Mary
06.15.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary
When do you use the other half of the oat mixture? Just put it over the condensed milk?
06.15.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
Ashley-- Sweetened condensed always lends that soft, gooey texture and sweet taste to bars. I love it. A makeshift nutella with chocolate and almonds sounds just perfect. It's been on my list for a long time. It's about time I actually make it!

Caroline-- Too addicting! I think I've eaten half the pan in less than a day. These could be a problem...

Annie, Rhonda, & Lauren-- Sorry! I completely spaced on putting that back in the recipe. Thank you for pointing it out! I have fixed the recipe. You sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup oat mixture when you sprinkle on the chocolate chips and almonds.

Mary-- Thank you and welcome!
06.15.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
These look delicious and I'd love to try this recipe but confused, it says to reserve half of oat mixture but then does not say what to do with it...
06.15.2011 | Unregistered CommenterPam
Pam-- I edited the recipe above. You sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup oat mixture when you sprinkle on the chocolate chips and almonds. Sorry about the confusion!
06.15.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I can't wait to make these for my work!
06.16.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDennis
Allergies may bring you a new opening chapter in baking history :)
06.16.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKS
Hehe you remind me of ME!! Peanuts, all tree nuts but almond (odd I know), any oils / butters / fats (even good ones!) and foods high in dietary fat, caffeine, alcohol, milk, egg yolk (not the white though!), wheat, caraway seed, and coconut. Yet I just glove up (can't touch the nuts or coconut), bake up, and take a benadryl for the flour-wheat thing with my eyes!

On the other hand, I have gotten really into trying out the whole GF baking thing, and unless it's a special request everything's egg free too.

Power to you!!
06.16.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
The good part regarding your allergies is that you don't get fat :))) I would've wanted to comment on the About section, but there are no comments allowed...I love how you described yourself, such a great post! and we look alike too :)) Hope you're having a great weekend!
Wow, I kid you not I just drooled a little at work when I saw this post -- looks incredible!
06.17.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarolina
I can't imagine being allergic to nuts as I love them so much... but how lucky that you can eat almonds because they're the most delicious and versatile of all! And these bars look delicious. I could even pretend they're healthy.
06.17.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAveen
I made these last night as a treat for my boyfriend and his Relay for Life team. They were super easy to make and so delicious! :)
06.18.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSonja
Well, these look fantastic. I may have to try! I also have an unfortunate allergy for baking--eggs. But, it makes things more interesting. Love a good challenge!
Sarah-- Wow! Those are so many allergies to work around. I have so much respect for you and the food challenges you face.

Aveen-- You mean these aren't healthy? I'm very good at pretending too many foods are healthy, too. :)

Sonja-- I'm glad these turned out so well! Thanks for sharing!

Gabrielle-- That's a great attitude to have! Allergies tend to bring out your creative side and I love a good challenge.
06.22.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Just found your blog on StumbleUpon and love it! Thanks for sharing such beautiful recipes. I had to comment on this one because I, too, am allergic to tree nuts! I've never tested positively for almonds or cashews, but my allergist told me to avoid them "just in case." Boo.

I'm an obsessive baker too, and am always sad to miss out on so many recipes. And traveling, especially abroad, can be hard because all I want to do is sample everything - but sometimes I have to completely avoid bakeries and pastry shops when I'm worried they may not understand me trying to communicate what I can and can't eat.

Thanks for sharing your story!
07.6.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBowen
Just found your site but these look awesome and I plan to make these soon. I have printed out the recipe and saved you to my favorites. I know my kids will like these just looking at the ingredients. Thanks for sharing!

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