Oatmeal cookie bars inspired by Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies. These bars are soft, sweet, and loaded with cinnamon. They are even better than the original!
This morning I had the pleasure of taking my three-year-old guy into the dentist to get two cavities filled. Truth be told, I waited way too long to take him into the dentist. His first regular cleaning was just a couple of weeks ago. I put it off for a long time mainly because I just knew the probability of him having cavities was going to be high (NOT because this mom of his is a dessert blogger though).
I knew he’d likely have cavities because brushing his teeth has always been a battle (and we started brushing as soon as he had teeth as a little baby)! We are talking… screaming, crying, wiggling, weeping, and having to pin him down just to get that brush in his mouth for a few seconds. On the days when he begs to brush his teeth on his own, he just gets the fronts of his top and bottom teeth, and then he thoroughly enjoys sucking the rest of his berry flavored toothpaste off of his toothbrush. Probably better for him than not brushing at all, but still probably not very effective.
And so when they told me he had two cavities way in the back of his mouth a couple of weeks ago I was not surprised, because those back teeth hardly get cleaned like they should.
I’ve experienced every emotion possible this morning. I had a great laugh when he started to get loopy at the dentist. It was hysterical. Then on the way home he puked everywhere, which made me angry (not at him, just at the mess) and it also made me a little sad that he even had to get cavities filled in the first place (was this all my fault?!). Also, he’s want to snuggle with me all morning since which makes me SO happy since this active little guy is not much of a snuggler anymore.
As a parent, lesson learned. I’ve got to figure out some way to help this guy look forward to brushing his teeth so that we never have to get cavities filled ever again. Suggestions are appreciated in the comments below.
And since I do feel just a little guilty that he had to go through all of this today, I think I’ll curl up on the couch tonight after he goes to bed and devour one or two of these delectable little oatmeal creme pie bars.
I can’t even tell you how much I LOVE THESE. If you had asked me one week ago to pick only one dessert to have for the rest of my life, I’d have chosen frosted brownies. But after developing this recipe… I don’t know you guys. These would be a very close tie.
Imagine a slightly dense, slightly cakey bar that’s got so much depth of flavor from the cinnamon and dark brown sugar (which has a molasses-y quality to it). Then add the nuttiness of oats to that, and top it all off with a lightly whipped creamy frosting that has a hint of honey flavor. I like to sprinkle our bars with a dash more of cinnamon, and BAM you’ve got one of the best bars you will ever eat.
I scaled this recipe for two. It makes four bars total (one for now, one for later). However, I love these bars SO much that you’d better believe I’ll be making another version of this recipe soon that makes an 8×8 pan.
Also if you don’t keep dark brown sugar on hand, do not fret. You can mix a cup of light brown sugar with a tablespoon of molasses (mix it well), and you’ll have a perfectly awesome dark brown sugar substitute.
- For the bars:
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter
- 1/2 cup quick cooking oats, pulsed in food processor before measuring*
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg white
- For the frosting:
- 1 tablespoon salted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/8 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- cinnamon for sprinkling (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease an 8×4 inch bread pan and line it with a parchment paper sling. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a small microwave safe mixing bowl. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, whisk the oats, flour, baking powder, and cinnamon together in another small bowl (a cereal bowl will do).
- Once the butter has cooled slightly, whisk in the brown sugar and the vanilla until smooth.
- Whisk the egg white into the brown sugar/butter mixture until completely combined.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well with whisk or wooden spoon/rubber spatula.
- Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs (but not any batter).
- Cool completely**.
- To make frosting, use a hand mixer to beat all of the frosting ingredients together in a small bowl (a cereal bowl will do) until they are combined and smooth. Once the ingredients come together, continue mixing the frosting for about 30 more seconds on high speed to whip the frosting and make it a little bit fluffier.
- Spread frosting over cooled bars. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Cut into four bars and serve.