These bars are one part cookie, and one part granola bar. And they’re one of the best homemade bars…or whatever you want to call them…I’ve ever made.
They’re chewy and caramel-y and earthy and studded with tangy, dried cranberries.
The bottom and sides are just a wee bit crisp.
And they couldn’t be easier to make. Think Rice Krispie treat, but with oats instead of rice cereal, and a sweet buttery mixture instead of marshmallow.
The only difference? These get baked.
They’re based on a recipe published in Bon Appetit magazine by the fabulous Molly Wizenberg of Orangette. The recipe is British, and was originally called flapjacks (which in England, are cookies, not pancakes). Read Wizenberg’s full article on them here.
I used dark brown sugar instead of light brown, and tossed in a mess of sweetened, dried cranberries. They were great the day that I made them, and even better the next day.
Be sure to use quick cooking oats
Use quick-cooking oats for this recipe. Not instant. Not old-fashioned.
What is Lyle’s Golden Syrup?
This stuff. It was originally made by Abraham Lyle in the 1880s, and it’s delicious.
It’s about the consistency of maple syrup or warm honey. It has a golden color, and a wonderful, light caramel flavor. (It’s really good on pancakes.)
It comes in a can, or a plastic squeeze bottle. (I prefer the bottle. It’s less messy.)
In America, you used to be able to only find it in gourmet shops. Over the last few years, however, more and more mainstream markets have been stocking it. I got my bottle at my local Stop & Shop. If you can’t find it in your area, check a Whole Foods, or order it online.
Cranberry Oat Bars
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg
8 Tbls. butter (that’s 1 stick)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup golden syrup
2 1/3 cups quick-cooking oats (NOT instant or old-fashioned)
3/4 cup sweetened, dried cranberries (a.k.a. Craisins)
Pinch of salt
Yields 8-16 bars, depending on how small you cut them
Prep your pan
Lightly grease an 8-inch x 8-inch baking pan. Line with a square of parchment paper, so that the paper is hanging over the sides. (This makes air-lifting out the baked bars a lot easier.) Set it aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Make the bar cookie mixture
Measure your brown sugar out (pack it down in the measuring cup with a spoon). Toss the sugar in a medium-sized pot.
Add the butter and the golden syrup.
Set the heat on medium. Whisk constantly as the butter and sugar melt.
Keep whisking until you have a uniform paste, like this. (You’re not cooking the mixture, at this point. You just want to melt the ingredients together.)
Remove the pot from the heat. Toss in the oats and the salt.
And the dried cranberries.
Stir until the oats and cranberries are coated and the mixture is uniform.
Scoop out into your prepared pan.
The mixture will be sticky, but kind of loose. That’s just fine.
Smoosh the mixture down with the back of a spoon until the surface is flat and firm.
Be sure to press down all the corners, too. You want it dense when it goes into the oven so it stays together.
Bake, cut, and cool the bars
Pop the pan into your preheated, 350-degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until the edges are light brown and it smells nice and toasty.
Cool it in the pan on a rack for about 5 minutes. Then cut them. Slice into four squares.
If you want 8 large triangles, cut an “x” connecting the corners. (If you want 16 smaller triangles, cut each square in an “x”.)
Let the bars cool completely in the pan. (They’ll kind of fall apart until they cool.) When they’re cool, break them apart to serve. You can leave the bars in the pan, or lift them out by the parchment paper.