While I believe it’s really important to have pantry staples for preparing healthy meals.  I also believe in the importance of having a baking pantry stocked!  Some things I try to always keep on hand include:

all purpose flour
white whole wheat flour
bread flour
rolled oats
baking soda
baking powder
cocoa powder
fleur de sel
cream of tarter
vegetable/canola oil
peanut butter
chocolate/butterscotch/white chocolate chips
walnuts & pecans
spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, etc

With this list, I can usually make a long list of desserts when the mood strikes.  And this is important because the mood strikes at least once a week!

I made these on a night our neighbor invited us over for dinner.  He said not to bring anything, but I insisted on bringing dessert.  I cut some of these before they had cooled completely so the ones I shared at his gathering were a bit messy!  If you let these cool completely, you’ll get clean sharp edges.  No matter how you slice them, you’ll end up with a delicious bar cookie!  These combine the taste of an oatmeal cookie, with a thick layer of fudgey goodness.  I’m a tad bit embarrassed to admit this, but we brought about half the pan to his house, and left the other half at home.  All the ones we brought over were eaten, which meant we still had half a pan to ourselves.  I said “I’ll probably bring these to work to unload the rest of them.” Umm… after eating them for two more days, we decided they were just too delicious to share.  So Nathan & I finished off the rest all on our own in a week’s time!  hehehe


Chewy Oatmeal Fudge Bars


2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups oats
2 cups chocolate chips
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk (15 oz.)
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional, walnuts or pecans) *I did not use


Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 9×13 pan. (Or you could line with parchment paper.)

In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat together softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until combined. Add vanilla and mix well.

Slowly add the sifted flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in oatmeal.

Gently spread 2/3 crust into bottom of prepared pan. Reserve the rest for topping.

Make the filling:
Over Medium-Low heat, melt together chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoons butter, and salt. Stir until smooth. Remove mixture from heat and stir in vanilla and nuts if using.

Evenly pour filling mixture onto crust but keeping filling about a 1/4 inch away from side of pan so it does not stick to side while baking. (The pan I used was nonstick and brand new, so even the chocolate that got on the edge did not cause a problem. If you chose to use parchment paper, chocolate on the edges probably wouldn't cause an issue either.) Evenly dollup top of filling with remaining oat mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until topping is light brown and fudge layer set but not solid. Don’t overbake these bars or they can become dry.

Cool in pan on rack until set before cutting. Can chill to set faster. Keep stored in airtight container.

as seen on Beantown Baker, originally from Baking Blonde

Sorry I got so picture happy, I had a really hard time deciding which photo to use!  *sigh*