Sea Salt Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

You Mean Black Tar Heroin Bars?

Full disclosure: these gems don’t even pretend to be good for you.  But alas, sometimes you just need a little trouble to get by.  Though I am far more salty than sweet, this recipe is the perfect amalgamation of all that I love in a good dessert.  The usual suspects of butter, vanilla, chocolate chips and brown sugar are all present, but what makes this one truly special are the flecks of sea salt crowning the golden bars.  Once you mix the majesty together, sprinkle some sea salt for good measure, and bake, you are treated to fudgy decadence.  Gooey, salty-sweet glory that you will scrape out of the pan to steal bite after bite.

Salty Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars. Photo © Angela Gunder (Spice or Die).


This recipe was born after a failed attempt to recreate my favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I crafted the batter lovingly, adding dates and coconut to help with the chewy, gooey texture.  But it was all in vain, and my attitude was so effing bad after the bake fail, I dumped the rest of the batter out into a pan, cooked it off and continued to live my life.  As I carved up the cookie bars and took a nibble, though, I realized that I had stumbled upon something wickedly unique – the perfect marriage of blondie, cookie and salted caramel all in one sexy bite.  I was a bonafide addict.

Salty Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars. Photo © Angela Gunder (Spice or Die).

I made these babies for a charity bakeoff for the National MS Society and had a moment of hesitation in naming them.  If I entered them under their official name, they’d easily be demolished.  But maybe, just maybe, if I named them after illegal drugs, folks would shy away and I’d have more leftovers to bring home for secret eating.  Silly me.  As I stole glances of the folks chowing down on the entries into the competition, I noticed people taking forks, spatulas and even fingers (!) to the bars, sneaking tastes here and there.  They were surreptitious in their nibbling, as if partaking in some sort of illicit activity.  I had moved from addict to dealer in a matter of minutes.

One last thing before I show you how to get your fix. Though Spice or Die is a judgement-free zone, it’s hard to eat these decadent bars with a clean conscience.  So if you are looking to do a little good to even out the score, we’re still in fundraising mode for the National MS Society 😉  As I write this, we are at a little over $12,000 for this year’s fundraising, only $3000 short of our goal for the year.  Consider making a donation to my team, MS is BS, who walk 50k in a charity event to support my little sister and all who have multiple sclerosis.  After all, doing good is pretty damn addictive as well.

Salty Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars. Photo © Angela Gunder (Spice or Die).

Sea Salt Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

You have the opportunity to make these as dangerous as you’d like by changing the baking time. I tend to underbake them a bit to play up the texture of cookie dough, but if you dig the taste of brownie edges, bake a little longer.

Makes 16 generous bars


3 sticks of butter, softened
3 c. of brown sugar
1 tsp. of baking powder
1/2 tsp. of baking soda
4 eggs
3/4 c. of dried dates, roughly chopped
2 tbs. of vanilla extract
2 c. of flour
2 c. of oatmeal
1 c. of shredded sweetened coconut
1 1/2 c of pecans (whole are sexy, but chopped work too)
2 c. of chocolate chips
coarse sea salt
Preheat the oven to 375°.
In a stand mixer or large bowl and egg beaters, cream together the butter, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, eggs, dates and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Let sit for 5 minutes to allow the dates to soften a bit.  Add the flour to the butter mixture and beat until incorporated.  Clean off the paddle or beaters.  Stir in the remaining ingredients – oatmeal, coconut, pecans and chocolate chips.  Turn out the batter into a 13x9x3 baking pan (and if you’re not using a glass baking pan, you might want to line with parchment paper for easy cutting later on).  Sprinkle a few pinches of salt over the top of the bars.
Pop the bars in the oven and bake until the edges are dark golden and the center is set, about 30-35 minutes.  Remove pan from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack – the bars will continue to cook when you let them hang out.
Cut into squares and serve to fellow sweet-meets-salty foodie junkies.

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