My son recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. We couldn’t have been more proud of him and all the hard work he put into preparing for the day. He really did a fantastic job leading the prayers and reading from the Torah.
My wife and I put a lot into the preparations for that day too. I’m sure anyone who has been through this can relate. As parents, our work happened ahead of time, and all that was left for us that day was to hope everything went well. Of course, as we began planning for the day my thoughts were about the food. We sponsored a luncheon for the congregation after the Shabbat morning service, and we worked with the caterer at the synagogue to put on a nice lunch. Anyone who knows me, knows that I would probably have bitten off more than I could chew and tried to do more of the food myself, but my wife wouldn’t let me.
However, I did have the opportunity to bake some desserts for after lunch. The caterer asked us to provide a LOT of desserts, so we had a number of friends help make things for us (if I didn’t say it before, THANK YOU for all your help), and I made a few different desserts myself. One of them was a new recipe I came up with for these oatmeal pecan chocolate chip cookie bars.
My favorite cookies have always been various kinds with oatmeal. I like the texture and flavor the oats add, and they are never overly sweet like some other kinds of desserts. Plus, I can lie to myself and pretend they are healthier than other sweets. In additions to the oats, my favorite nut is the pecan, so that was a no-brainer for me. Of course, you could substitute most any other kind of nuts if you were so inclined.
This recipe makes a VERY large batch of cookie bars. I have a humongous sheet pan to cook them in (it JUST fits in my oven), and since I knew I needed to make a lot of them, this was perfect for Bar Mitzvah baking. I think if I were making this recipe at home for a smaller crowd, I would definitely cut it in half. I know my waistline does not need that many cookie bars. But you can also put these in the freezer and they will be just fine. So go ahead and make a big batch, eat some now, then freeze some for later. For my son’s Bar Mitzvah, I made them about a week ahead of time and put them in the freezer. You have enough to worry about right before the big day, so it is good to have this done and know that dessert will be ready when you are.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- 1 ½ sticks butter + extra to grease the pan
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
- 3 cups old fashioned oats
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 1 cup pecans chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 15 x 21 inch baking sheet pan.
Put the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time. Wait until each one is fully integrated before adding the next. Add the dry ingredients in small batches. Slow that mixer down unless you want to redecorate your kitchen with flour. Lastly, add the vanilla, pecans, and chocolate chips. Mix just enough until everything is thoroughly combined.
Spread the mixture on your prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. It should be golden brown but still soft. Remove from the oven and let it cool almost completely before turning out of the pan. Cut into bars…depending on how small you make them, you should get somewhere around 7-8 dozen bars easily. You can serve them immediately (you know you are going to eat one right away anyway), or you can put them in the freezer ready to satisfy the Bar Mitzvah crowd.