Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Bake Sale Winning-est Gooey Oat Bars

September 29, 2020

I know everyone’s stress levels are through the roof right now, and I know what I do when I’m stressed. I eat chocolate!

This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen Every Day, the second cookbook of O.G. food blogger Deb Perelman. I already reviewed her first cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, when I made Balsamic and Beer-Braised Short Ribs. They were so good that when I saw she has another short rib recipe in this cookbook, I really wanted to try it. In fact, there were so many recipes I wanted to make. But in my current state of mind, I could not pass up these Gooey Oat Bars.

They are super simple, easily modified according to taste, and so good. The bottom is basically a short bread cookie, and the top is a gooey mixture of oats, butter, brown sugar, coconut, and your choice of chocolate, dried fruit, or both. Mine were all chocolate, of course! Perelman said that they are a huge hit at bake sales, and I believe it. If we ever have bake sales again, I suggest you take these!


  • Nonstick spray
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark-brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened*
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, chopped candy bars, dried fruit, or a mix of all**
  • Powdered sugar
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line or spray a 9 x 13 inch baking tray.
  2. Make the crust. Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.
  3. Cut the butter into chunks, and add it to the bowl, then run the machine until the mixture forms large clumps. Transfer the dough clumps to the prepared baking pan and press them evenly across the bottom and 1/4 inch up the sides. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until very pale golden.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter, stirring frequently, until golden brown bits form at the bottom, about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars and salt. Let cool from 5 to 10 minutes, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, and stir in the oats, coconut, and chocolate or fruit. Pour over the parbaked crust, spreading evenly.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is firm and golden and the bars are set or, at most, barely jiggle if shimmied. Let cool. You can put them in the fridge if you want the bars to cut cleanly.
  7. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
  8. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the fridge for longer.

My notes: Make these oat bars! People will love you.

*I used sweetened coconut because it’s easier to find. They didn’t seem too sweet to me, but I rarely find things to be too sweet. 🙂

**I can’t imagine using dried fruit instead of chocolate, but to each their own!

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman.

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