These bars came about in the same way most of my edible creations do- I have this thing in my refrigerator/ cupboard that needs to be used, and I have no plan for it. I buy thing at the store in fits of inspiration, bring them home and then never use for one reason or another. Too lazy, plans change, I loose the original inspiration, etc.
In this case , it was hazelnut almond milk coffee creamer. I bought it back when I was making iced coffee in the summer and taking it to work because I didn’t have time for my But, that job ended, my schedule changed, and I didn’t need iced coffee for work mornings because I had time to have my morning tea before heading off to school. So this almond milk creamer has been sitting and sitting around in the fridge, and now that the semester is over and I have time to worry about these things, I set out to make use of it. But what? I have struggled for days and days about what to do with it.
I have had butterscotch on the mind a lot lately for reasons unknown to myself, so when I came across a butterscotch sauce recipe that used heavy cream, a light bulb went on in my head. I know almond milk creamer is not really close to being the same, but perhaps it could work?
So I made the sauce, subbing almond milk creamer for heavy cream, and earth balance for butter. I’m sure a butterscotch purist would say that these changes means that the end result here was something other than butterscotch, but it was close enough for me and it tasted damn good.
I now have butterscotch sauce. Great! Except, what do I do with it now? I don’t usually have ice cream around, so I can use it on that. Nor am I especially interested in spooning it over anything. I really just want to put it in something, bake it, and be done with it. Google “butterscotch sauce bars.” There’s not really many any such actual recipes, especially ones that might work as vegan recipes and with the quantity of sauce I now have sitting in a bowl, waiting.
Eventually, I find one that seems like it would reasonable work, veganized, and the sauce recipes are similar enough that they should even be almost the same quantities.
Per my inability to prepare a recipe as written, I made a few changes, and I am very, very happy with the results. For me, the key addition to these bars is the nutmeg- it adds a nutty, lively, intriguing depth and sophistication to the bars. I made one recipe without, and while the ones without were excellent as well, the ones with the nutmeg are by far my prefered version.
One would expect these bars to be quite sweet with sugar everywhere in the recipes, but I did not find that to be the case, I think all oats (3 cups!) really soak up all the sweetness. Plus, all the oats make you feel like you are eating something healthy and also makes this a perfectly acceptable breakfast food.(said the girl who will literally eat ice cream for breakfast, so….)
I baked these quite long as I wanted the edges/bottom to achieve a nice, crispy caramelization. Between the crispy caramelized areas, the chewy oats, and the metly little pockets of buttery sauce, there is a great amount of texture in each bite of these bars that make them truly delightful to snack on, and so addictive.
Butterscotch Oat Bars
Sauce recipe adapted from Vegetarian Baker
Bar recipe adapted from Kinsey Cooks
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter (earth balance)
- 4 tablespoons almond milk creamer (i used hazelnut flavored)
- additional 1/4 cup almond milk creamer
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon butter extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- optional – a bit of cornstarch dissolved in water.
- Add the butter, salt and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium heat.
- When the butter is melted, whisk in 4 tablespoons creamer. Bring to a foamy boil. Lightly boil (there should be some bubbling) for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally, until mixture deepens in color. It should thicken a bit, but also not a lot.
- Remove from heat, and whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup creamer, followed by the vanilla and butter extracts. Whisk.
- Whisk in dissolved cornstarch if using.
- Let cool for 15 minutes before using.
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon butter extract (yes!!)
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 13″ x 9″ baking pan.
- Whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl .
- In a different bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with a hand mixer on medium/high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
- Add in the vanilla and butter extracts, mix in well.
- While running the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the butterscotch sauce. Fully mix in.
- Slowly add the oat mixture to the bowl and mix on low speed until just combined.
- Using a wooden spoon, mix the dough to ensure that any loose flour is incorporated into the mixture.
- Scoop mixture into baking pan with wooden spoon, smoothing out at much as possible.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes,then take a tiny corner piece. Bars are equally amazing cooled.