This next recipe is a favorite passed down from my mother’s mother. They’ve always been referred to in my family as “Revel Bars,” though a few years ago I found eerily similar recipe in Joy of Cooking called “Chocolate Oat Bars.” In any case, a quick google shows that this name (and basic recipe) is pretty ubiquitous, so maybe a few of you have had the joy of tasting these bars before.
I have no words for how excellent these are. They have density and heft; their oatmeal layers are buttery, rich, and cookie-like, and the smooth chocolate center is reminiscent of fudge.
When I was little, my mother would make these for picnics, sealing half the big batch in the deep freezer in the basement. Of course, this didn’t stop me and my brothers from eating them. When no one was looking, we would creep down the creaky stairs to this electric vestige of our Iowan roots, quietly crack the lid, and grope around until we got our hands on a frozen cookie bar. (I’m pretty sure my mother was none-too-impressed with the way those tupperware containers mysteriously emptied themselves.) To this day I love these bars straight from the freezer — it gives their fudgy middles a toothsome chew. Don’t tell my dentist, okay?
Be forewarned that, in true church cookie-hour style, this recipe yields approximately one billion servings. You’re looking at a 9×13″ pan’s worth of really rich 2.5″ tall bars. Not that anyone will complain! You could halve the recipe, but since you’re going to be putting a fair amount of work into it anyway, you might as well just make the whole batch and freeze half of it. Or you can just mail the rest to me. I’m always happy to help out!
- ———— Oatmeal Mixture
- 1 c margarine
- 2 c brown sugar
- egg replacer for 2 eggs, prepared
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2½ c flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 c quick oats
- ———— Filling
- 1¼ c soy powder
- 3 tbsp vegan butter
- ½ c sugar
- ½ c boiling water
- 12 oz chocolate chips
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 c chopped walnuts
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Grease a 9×13″ baking pan with shortening.
- Cream margarine and brown sugar together ’til light and fluffy.
- Add egg replacer and vanilla and mix well. In another bowl, sift together flour, salt, and soda; add oatmeal and stir. Add dry mixture to wet and mix well.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Press ⅔ of oatmeal mixture into prepared pan.
- Next: on to the filling. Combine soy powder, 3 Tbsp vegan butter, sugar, and boiling water in a blender until smooth.
- In a double-boiler, melt together this mixture, chocolate chips, 2 Tbsp vegan butter, and salt, stirring occasionally to evenly distribute the heat.
- When smooth, remove from heat and add walnuts and vanilla.
- Pour over oatmeal base and spread until it’s distributed evenly across the pan.
- Using your hands, dot with the remaining oatmeal batter.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top oatmeal layer is golden. Allow to cool completely before slicing.