Saturday, March 07, 2009

Browned Butter Oatmeal-Cranberry Bars

Classic oatmeal raisin cookies are a favorite around here and while I was going to make a batch today, I thought a change was in order to shake things up.

Instead of individual cookies, we thought a thicker bar would be a good jumping off point - then we thought we'd make one other important change... we browned the butter first! If you've never tried it before, this process gently heats the butter until the milk solids fall to the bottom of the pan and turn a dark golden color. Why do this? The browning amplifies the richness and brings out such a nutty, toasted depth in the butter that makes the product you use it with more unique and memorable.

We made sure to brown the butter first so it had a chance to cool off while we were preparing the rest of the ingredients for these bars. Using a higher ratio of oats to flour ensures these bars will end up chewy and dense, while the proportion of brown to white sugar keeps them moist with a little crispness to them. Rather than using raisins, we swapped those out for sweet-tart dried cranberries. With just a couple shakes from our jar of cinnamon and a few sweeps of a sturdy wooden spoon to prepare the dough, we scooped it into the pan and let it bake until we tested it with a toothpick and it came out with a few moist crumbs attached - don't wait until the toothpick comes out impeccably clean because you want these to remain moist.

Got to have chocolate? Don't be afraid to toss in a handful of chocolate chips instead of or even in addition to the cranberries (or raisins if you so choose). If you're looking for more of a crunch or to appease a nut fan, walnuts, pecans or for a buttery touch, chopped macadamias, weaved into the dough would pair well too in these upscale oatmeal bars!


  1. Sounds like the perfect week-end treat Joe.

  2. These look wonderful. The perfect thing for tucking into the lunchbag to munch on.

  3. Just made these this morning, very nice! The perfect sweet treat with oats I was looking for. Thanks so much!

  4. Okay, I pulled these out of the oven and had a hard time waiting until cool to eat! But they were yummy! Score!

  5. Helene - It was!

    Katie - A nice treat that isn't too sweet!

    Sharon - Fantastic... thanks for giving them a try!

    Debie - Woo! You rock!