Tag Archives: oatmeal

Lemon Cream Bars

When I saw this recipe featured on Tasty Kitchen, I immediately decided to make it. I had committed to bringing a treat to a Women’s Ministry event at my church last Friday, and this seemed like a pretty easy little number.

As soon as I started baking it, my husband looked at me happily. “Oooh, you’ve made this before, right? These are those great lemon bars!”

Suddenly, strange half-formed memories started emerging. Had I made these before? After ruminating for days, seeing a hypnotist and a psychotherapist and undergoing memory revitalization at a clinic in Tibet, I have finally reached the conclusion that I simply can’t remember! It’s rare that a cooking memory could turn so foggy–I tend to remember everything I make in mouth-watering detail. However, all I can conjure up regarding these bars is an undefined sense of deja vu.

But why are we wasting time talking about my early onset of memory loss? The point is–this is a VERY easy dessert to whip up. It takes very little time to get into the oven, and the tanginess of the lemon juice and crumbly texture of the streusel combine to make a lovely little treat. Plus, the ingredients are all things I tend to have in the pantry, so if I’m in a dessert bind, I know I can turn to these.


(Makes 20 bars)

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 1/2 lemons)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup oats

1 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup butter, melted (10.6 TBS)

1 tsp baking powder

1 pinch salt

First things first: preheat the oven to 350 F and assemble the ingredients.

Now it’s time to squeeze the lemons–fresh lemon juice is always best, especially when it’s such a central flavor in the end product.

I had a papercut under my fingernail, so I enlisted my husband to squeeze them for me.

Thanks, babes.

There wasn’t quite enough lemon juice in 2 lemons, so I broke my own rule about fresh lemon juice and supplemented with this little bottle.

What’s the point of making a rule if you don’t break it yourself 5 seconds after declaring it to the world?

I’m glad you feel the same way.

Next up: mix the lemon juice and condensed milk with a whisk or fork until they’re nicely combined. You can’t tell in this picture, but I spilled about half the mixture on the counter due to the violence of my whipping technique. Then I licked it off the counter and called myself Blessed.

So please use a larger bowl than the one pictured.

Set it aside.

Mix the remaining ingredients to form the streusel.

Gratuitous shot of pouring in the liquid butter:

This stuff is so tasty just as it is. I munched on it as I mixed.

Next time I’ll make a little extra and sprinkle some into my yoghurt.

Press half the streusel into a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish, creating an even layer.

If you can remember to save the paper wrappers from the butter you melted earlier, you can use them to grease the pan quite nicely. I (of course) forgot and threw them away, so I resorted to some baking spray.

Pour the lemon/condensed milk mixture over top of the streusel . . .

. . . and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon.

Sprinkle the rest of the streusel evenly over top.

Bake that baby for 25-30 minutes.

There it is, fresh out of the oven.

Don’t try to taste or cut into now, or you will leave a path of destruction in your wake. Cool the bars completely! Exercise your patience.

The rewards will be worth it.

If you don’t mean to consume the bars immediately, store them in the refrigerator–I should add that they’re good warm, room-temperature, or chilled and straight out of the fridge. Yes, I had them all 3 ways.

I was a little afraid that the crumbly streusel would result in a bar that would completely fall apart upon contact with my human hand.

(As opposed to the robot hand that I keep in the drawer, of course.)

So I was obliged to test my theory.

A couple times.

The bars held up quite well!

Aren’t you glad I’m here to figure these things out in advance for you?

To troubleshoot, so to speak?

So am I.

Click here for printer-friendly version: Lemon Cream Bars

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve shared before that I’m not much of a baker. I like the immediacy of the cast iron skillet and the smell of frying garlic and onions, the excitement of modifying recipes as you go, and the mincing and dicing of fresh ingredients. Kneading dough and mixing flour and sugar . . . hasn’t been my thing. So it’s been up to my husband to supply the cookie needs of our little household. They used to just be his own cookie needs, but slowly he’s gotten me a little addicted. Cookies are pretty great for breakfast–they go so well with coffee!

Lately when we agree that it’s time for some baking to happen, I’ve been putting my oar in. I prod and plead and whine and beg my husband to let me try a new recipe. Pleeeeease? I just came across this recipe on Tasty Kitchen, see, and I think it could really be awesome . . .

See, my baby likes the old favorites. He’s faithful, loyal, and true–to his friends, but also to his cookies. Here he is feeling skeptical about this uncharted baking territory.

He’s like Just call me Mr. Skeptical.

I’m like Hey Mr. Skeptical. I really like you. But we can’t cling to the old ways! What about the sweet smell of culinary progress??

By the way, you’re hot.

My addiction to the smell of progress is the reason that sometimes dinner ends up in the trash . . . yep. I like living on the edge.

So back to cookies: this recipe is great. I’m not going to go around shouting through a bullhorn that it’s the best cookie recipe in the world. It might be, it might not be–I just don’t have that much experience with cookies. All I can say is that I have trouble when it’s time to stop eating them. That I had them religiously for breakfast until the cookie jar was empty. They are hearty and chewy, which is exactly what I want at 9am in the morning. My husband (so faithful to his regular recipe) says the jury is still out for him, because the quick oats give them a kind of grainy texture. But I love them that way! So I’ll share with you. And if any of you have to-die-for cookie recipes that this here cookie novice needs to try, please send me a link or give me instructions in the comments! I have so much to learn.

To flex the muscles of this new baking impulse, there will be more recipes for sweet treats coming up Monday and Tuesday. I hope you don’t mind. We’ll break things up with a delicious savory recipe soon enough, don’t worry.


2 sticks butter, softened

1 c brown sugar, packed firmly

1/2 c sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 ½ c flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

3 c quick oats

1 c chocolate or butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Then, enlist some man-hands to unwrap the softened butter so that your camera doesn’t get greasy.

Thanks, man-hands.

Put the butter in a mixer bowl, and add in the white sugar . . .

. . . and the firmly packed brown sugar.

Beat together the butter and sugars until they’re creamy. Sorry for the butt-ugly picture.

Add the eggs–looks like I had just enough!

Add the vanilla, too–I was plumb out of extract, but had this cool vanilla paste thingy that I got from a trade show last year. It’s thick like a syrup, and smells like paradise.

Hello, batter! I hope you’re not teeming with salmonella, because my finger is about to make the journey from bowl to mouth.

Now beat that good stuff until it’s nice and mixed.

Now if you’re a good boy or girl, you will mix together your dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and then add them to the wet batter all at once.

That avoids clumps of salt or baking soda and the like. However, I couldn’t be bothered with getting another bowl dirty, so I dumped it all in and then did a little mixy-mixy-mixeroo among the dry ingredients with a spoon before turning the mixer back on.

Here goes the flour:

Followed by the salt . . .

. . . and the baking soda.

I skipped the cinnamon–I didn’t feel like it for some reason. But you’re welcome to add it!

Mix it for a couple minutes. It will come together pretty quickly.

Time for the quick oats!

Mix them in, too.

It will get very, very thick at this point, and start sticking to the stirry thingamadging on your mixer.

Pause briefly for a taste, if that’s your thang . . .

. . . and pour in the chocolate chips.

Oh yes.

At this point the dough was so thick that I abandoned the mixer and grabbed a trusty old wooden spoon to finish the job. Much cookie dough was eaten along the way.

Shape the dough into rounds and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. You can make smaller cookies (heaping tablespoonfuls of batter) and bake 10-12 minutes:

Or you can go with larger ice-cream scoop sized cookies and bake them for about 15 minutes.

We chose both options. Note: these cookies will not flatten out very much during baking, so I like to press the balls of dough flat with the palm of my hand before baking, to get a wider cookie as opposed to a taller one.

Let them rest for 1 minute when they come out of the oven before moving them to a wire rack to cool.

As a non-baker, I was surprised at how mushy and gooey they were right out of the oven, and I wondered if they were really done or if they needed more time in the oven. So if you are inexperienced as I am, don’t be alarmed! They will solidify as they cool.

The bottoms: perfect.

If only my bottom were that perfect.

But that’s not what we’re talking about here!

We’re talking about these cookies. And how great they are, tops, bottoms, and middles.


Have a great weekend, and see you Monday for another sugar-laden experience.

Click here for printer-friendly version: Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies