Almost eight years ago, Becky and I spent a semester studying abroad with the Casa de la Solidaridad program in El Salvador, Central America, where we were introduced to these absolutely sinful cookies.
You may be thinking at this moment that these cookies are therefore Salvadoran.
See, we were not introduced to these cookies at a panadería or anywhere else in la comunidad, but rather at the home of our program director T when she hosted once-a-week Spirituality Nights.
For me, these weekly gatherings were a lifeline throughout the semester, for a few reasons: 1) We were encouraged to speak English rather than Spanish, 2) I needed the personal and small group reflection time to process the intense experiences I was going through, and 3) T always made baked goods.
I'm telling you - the baked goods were at least as big a draw at those Spirituality Nights as the whole God/faith thing, if not bigger.
So when the Casa program recently distributed a cookbook with some favorite program recipes, Becky and I literally squealed, then drooled, when we saw this recipe in there.
Me gustan oatmeal cookies.
Me gusta fudge.
Me definitely gusta the combination of the two.
Which makes me wonder, why, oh why, did I not ask T for this recipe sometime in the last eight years?
These are oatmeal cookie bars with a layer of oooey, gooey fudge in the middle, and are every bit as indulgent as their name implies. They are super easy to make, too.
T- thanks for all the support and comfort you offered all those years ago, especially the kind of support made from sugar, butter, oatmeal, and chocolate.
Readers - who will you indulge with these?
Adapted from T's recipe
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 cups oatmeal (I used a combination of quick oats and original oats since that's what I had on hand)
2 cups (1 bag) chocolate chips
1 10 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan (10 x 15 inches) with parchment or foil. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl and set aside.
2. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until blended.
3. Add flour mixture in two batches, blending until incorporated. Stir or blend in oats.
4. Press three quarters of mixture into bottom of pan (I found an offset spatula useful here).
5. In microwave, heat chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in 30 second intervals, stirring until chocolate chips are melted. Spread chocolate mixture over cookie dough.
6. Drop mounds of remaining cookie dough over chocolate.
7. Bake 25-30 minutes, until top is golden brown. Let cool on wire rack.
8. When bars are cool, lift entire pan of bars onto cutting board using parchment or foil. Cut into bars. (You may find it helpful to refrigerate bars before cutting them. It's not necessary, but makes for a cleaner cut.)