My church owns a summer camp on a beautiful lake just about 2 hours north of the Twin Cities. This camp, Camp Ojibway, holds many very special memories for my family. I attended as a child, went on to be a counselor as a college student, met my husband there, sent my boys as campers and now they have both served as counselors too. As a matter of fact, my son, Kyle, will be back at camp this summer as an assistant program director. This is his fourth summer serving on the staff. It’s one of our favorite places to spend time.
During the summer the camp holds family weekends so adults can also enjoy the camping experience (in a short dose). Ryan, Amanda and I will be going to camp for one of these fun filled weekends. We are all looking forward to seeing Kyle “in action.”
Each family is asked to bring a “treat to share.” These treats are served during our evening game time where everyone gathers in the lodge to socialize, play games and of course eat. I plan to bring Cowboy Oatmeal Bars. Why, you might ask? Well, because they are easy to make, they travel with ease, and most importantly, everyone loves them.
Bars are one of my favorite “take along” treats to make. They are quick because you don’t have to form individual cookies or bake multiple pans. With Cowboy Oatmeal Bars all the “goodies” are baked right into the bars so they don’t even need to be frosted or glazed. Just mix the dough, pat it in the pan and bake. Once cool I just wrap the entire pan with plastic food wrap and then aluminum foil. They are then ready to be packed in the car for the trip to camp. It just doesn’t get much easier than that.
These bars are chock full of oats, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and walnuts all wrapped up in a brown sugar and butter cookie base. Feel free to substitute your favorite chips (butterscotch, milk chocolate, white chocolate, etc.) and nuts (pecans, macadamia, almonds, peanuts, etc.) Just make sure the total amount of these ingredients equals 3 cups.
Start by heating the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl combine the butter, brown sugar and sugar.
Beat at medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl often, until well mixed.
Now add the eggs and vanilla.
Continue beating until well mixed.
Add the flour, baking soda and salt.
Reduce speed to low (that way the flour won’t end up all over the counter and you). Beat until well mixed.
Add the oats and mix well. I use a spoon to stir in the oats because the dough is beginning to get a little stiff.
Now decide what chips and nuts you want to add. I went with the types called for in the recipe – peanut butter chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts.
Stir the chips and nuts into the dough until they are well distributed.
Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan.
Although I usually just use my fingers and hand to press the dough into the pan you can also use the bottom of a measuring cup to make sure the dough is evenly distributed. Just press the bottom of the measuring cup gently on the dough to smooth and even out the dough.
The bars are ready for the oven. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool completely. Once cool I wrapped the entire pan in plastic food wrap and then aluminum foil for the trip. I cut them into bars when we were ready to enjoy them.
I have made this recipe for a number of different occasions. Last winter I made them when I hosted book club. We always end our meeting with a treat of some kind. It is such an easy recipe I had time to whip them up after I got home from work and they baked while we had our book discussion. That evening I served them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Here’s a photo of my book club friends getting ready to enjoy their Cowboy Oatmeal Bars.
I’d enjoy hearing when you served Cowboy Oatmeal Bars and what combination of chips and nuts you used. Also, please take a moment to rate and review the recipe too.
Come back in a few days when Amanda will share how to grill corn-on-the-cob and a delicious butter to go serve alongside it.
Becky Wahlund is the Director of the Test Kitchens for Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.