Oatmeal Fudge Bars

I know people have been on the sweet and salty dessert kick for awhile, but it’s taken me some time to get on board. If you’ve read my blog for awhile you may have noticed that I don’t put salt in many of my recipes. My mom doesn’t either, and hasn’t really ever, so I’m super sensitive to salt. But in these Oatmeal Fudge Bars, the salt is what makes them GREAT! Picture a gooey, fudgy, peanut buttery layer surrounded by a hearty, soft oatmeal-based crust with just a hint of salt to balance the sweetness, and you have these bars. If you don’t have these bars, you’re missing out, so you should make them, stat. They are a perfect way to celebrate Whole Grain Sampling Day today too!

Oatmeal Fudge Bars | thepajamachef.com

These bars are a bit finicky to make, but their sweet-salty goodness makes them well worth the effort! Mind you, when I say these bars are “finicky” I mean you have to make and bake the crust, wait for it to cool, then add the filling and the topping. So really, not too complicated… but an extra step or two and a bit of time.

Oatmeal Fudge Bars | thepajamachef.com

They are so fudgy and rich that just a small, warm slice is perfectly satisfying. Because I ran out of chocolate chips [I knowwww] while making them, I used some peanut butter chips too. You can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate, can you? Enjoy!

one year ago: Neely’s Lemon Pasta Salad
two years ago: Pineapple-Apricot Teriyaki Chicken
three years ago: Sweet and Tangy Pork Chops with Pineapple and Coconut Toasted Rice

Oatmeal Fudge Bars [from Carpe Season]
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for crust/topping

  • 1 cup oats [original recipe suggested quick oats, I used old-fashioned]
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour [or all-purpose]
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly

for filling

  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour [or all-purpose]
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter chips [or can use all chocolate chips], divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8 square baking dish with foil and grease thoroughly.

In a medium bowl,  prepare the crust/topping. Whisk together oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour in melted butter, then stir to combine.

Save 3/4 cup of this mixture for the topping, then press the rest evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake crust for 8-9 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cool completely [can refrigerate pan for 20-25 minutes to speed process up, if desired].

As crust cools, prepare the filling.

Stir together flour, brown sugar, instant coffee, and salt in a bowl. You can use the crust bowl, wiped out with a paper towel, if desired. When crust is cool, melt 1/2 cup chocolate and 1/2 cup peanut butter chips together with the butter in a bowl in the microwave in 20 second increments, for a total of about a minute. Stir in between each microwave session.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. When chocolate mixture has cooled a bit, pour chocolate into the egg and whisk constantly so as to not cook the egg. Pour egg/chocolate into the flour mixture, stirring with a fork to combine. Mixture will be thick–like icing.

Spoon the filling over the cooled crust. Don’t worry if crust isn’t completely covered. Sprinkle reserved topping over chocolate mixture, then top with reserved chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Bars are done when filling starts to pull away from the sides of pan.

Cool bars for 30 minutes before removing from pan with foil, then cut into bars and serve.

Store in the fridge for best results.

Time: 2 hours [30 minutes active].

Yield: 16 servings.

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Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

My sister made these AWESOME cookie bars for our family this Valentine’s Day, along with some red velvet brownies and chocolate chip cookies. Aren’t they cute? They taste just as good as they look, so after my first bite I asked Kathleen for the recipe and made them on Friday. I think it just might become a new Friday tradition.

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | thepajamachef.com

Strawberries and chocolate are a classic combo–one of my faves [the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Blizzard is my go-to at DQ], so it was no surprise that I loved these cookie bars. I’m usually a homemade-only kinda baker/chef, as you know, but the use of strawberry cake mix is absolutely essential in these cookie bars. I’m sure you can make a good strawberry cake somehow, but all my tries at the homemade variety have been flops. And let’s face it–the store bought box is so easy and so delicious. I served these uber pink bars for a church small group game night, and everyone loved them. Fortunately there were a few leftover so I could snap a quick photo for you! :)

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars | thepajamachef.com

I know that I’ll definitely be looking for any excuse to make these pretty pink cookie bars in the future. A little girl’s birthday party [or a big girl's...:)], Valentine’s Day, or just an average Friday are just three of the instances that come to mind. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! So happy my sister decided to share them with us. You should definitely check out her blog cause it’s pretty fab. :)

one year ago: Asian Peanut Veggie Dip
two years ago: Spicy Sausage, Chicken, & Bean Stew
three years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars [adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction and my Funfetti Cookies]
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  • 1 box strawberry cake mix [Pillsbury 15.25 ounces OR Duncan Hines 18.25 ounces]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup canola oil [for Pillsbury] or 1/3 cup canola oil [for Duncan Hines]
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 inch or 9×9 inch pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix and baking powder. In a measuring cup, whisk together oil, eggs, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then fold in chocolate chips. Dough will be oily and very thick.

Press dough into prepared pan, then bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool before cutting into bars.

Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 16 servings.

Mystery Dish: Champorado [Filipino Chocolate Rice Pudding]

When I saw the ingredients for the January edition of Mystery Dish, the first thing I thought was “fancy, fancy.” Allie from Baking a Moment gave us a list of the following to work with: champagne, strawberries, oranges, beets, filet mignon, lobster, cream, chocolate, rosewater, and rice. Though the list at first glance is fancy, my first thought was comfort food. It must be the cold weather.

Champorado [Filipino Chocolate Rice Pudding] | thepajamachef.com

As I was thinking about what to make, I noticed rice sitting all lonely at the end of the list. I’ve never had rice pudding, so I looked up a few recipes and decided to give it a whirl. Ben is a HUGE rice addict, so we always have tons of rice in the pantry. Instead of the milky, raisin-filled, old-person-stereotype rice pudding, I wanted to use chocolate to fancify things a bit. As I researched chocolate rice pudding, I decided to take an international spin on things and make an intriguing Filipino chocolate rice pudding called Champorado. When I found out it is traditionally served for breakfast, I was sold. Chocolate for breakfast? Yes, please!

Champorado [Filipino Chocolate Rice Pudding] | thepajamachef.com

This pudding is warm, comforting, and chocolately–though it’s surprisingly NOT rich. Some kinds of oatmeal I make feel richer than this is. The recipe called for bittersweet chocolate, which certainly helps create an uber chocolate flavor without any feelings of heaviness or overindulgence. I also added a little bit of orange zest to bring a citrus zing to the dish. Chocolate and orange together is absolutely DIVINE! Another way this dish stays a lighter is the pairing. You might have noticed that bacon on my plate.

Champorado [Filipino Chocolate Rice Pudding] | thepajamachef.com

Traditionally, Champorado is served with hot, buttered rolls and salted dried fish, creating that perfect blend of salty sweet balance in a meal. Since I was fresh out of salted dried fish [aka I've never eaten salted dried fish before] bacon was my natural alternative. :)

Champorado [Filipino Chocolate Rice Pudding] | thepajamachef.com

Each bite of this pudding is comforting and delightful. It’s so versatile and can be served hot, lukewarm, or cold. Though I highly recommend it for breakfast, I think it would make a fun dessert too. I definitely will be trying more rice puddings in the future now that I know they aren’t just for old people! :) Thanks, Allie and Mystery Dish for broadening my horizons once again. Scroll down for more recipes from this month’s Mystery Dish! :)

one year ago: Buffalo Pretzels
two years ago: Cranberry Feta Pinwheels
three years ago: Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel Sauce

Champorado [Filipino Chocolate Rice Pudding] [from Chow]
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  • 1 cup rice [short grain white sticky rice recommended, but I used long-grain white rice and it was fine]
  • 5 cups water
  • 6 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate [I used a 70% cacao variety from Scharffen Berger]
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • milk [regular, evaporated, sweetened condensed], for serving if desired


Rinse rice in a fine gauge mesh strainer under running water for 1-2 minutes, until water runs clear. Then place in a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring often, until rice is tender, much of the water is absorbed, and mixture thickens, about 15-20 minutes.

Melt chocolate in the microwave in 15 second increments, stirring and checking often to ensure chocolate does not burn. A double boiler would be another option too.

When rice has thickened, add chocolate, sugar, and orange zest to pot and stir together. Simmer for another 5 minutes until sugar has dissolved.

Remove from heat and serve as desired–immediately [hot], cooled off the heat for 30-45 minutes [lukewarm], or cooled off the heat, then refrigerated [cold]. Serve with milk as desired.

Time: 30 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings.

Mystery Dish | thepajamachef.com

1. Carmelitas by Pass the Cocoa
2. Strawberry Champagne Cupcake Trifles by The Dessert Chronicles
3. Strawberry Orange Stuffed French Toast by I Dig Pinterest
4. Strawberry Orange Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips by Joyful Healthy Eats
5. Chocolate Strawberry Pudding by See Hubby Cook
6. Chocolate Doughnuts with Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing by Chez CateyLou
7. Champorado (Filipino Chocolate Rice Pudding) by The Pajama Chef
8. Whole Wheat Orange Scones with Vanilla Cream Glaze by The Well Floured Kitchen
9. Chocolate-Filled Cream Puffs with Strawberry Sauce by Culinary Couture
10. Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes by Yummy Healthy Easy
11. Chocolate Covered Strawberry Milkshake by I Want Crazy
12. Strawberry Rose Chocolate Verrines by Baking a Moment

Flourless Peanut-Chocolate Cookies

So, I used to post once a month on a blog called Today’s Housewife. In fall 2012, the group decided together to stop posting due the busyness of life and families and such. Though sad, I enjoyed being part of the group. As of early January 2013, the blog was officially taken down. But I don’t want to lose my recipes, so periodically I will be reposting them on here. Enjoy!


from June 9, 2011… I wish I had a plate of these cookies now :)

So you know those days when you need dessert? Not in a a couple hours, but a couple hours ago? Yeah, me too. Doesn’t that always seem to happen when you reach into your pantry and discover that you’re out of flour [or in your fridge and lament the lack of butter]? Been there, done that. Don’t want to do it again. It’s not too much fun, friends. But thankfully… next time that happens, you have a solution!

That solution is… Flourless Peanut-Chocolate Cookies!

Flourless Peanut-Chocolate Cookies | thepajamachef.com

Six ingredients and 30 minutes later, you can have a plate of delicious cookies chock-full of peanut butter and chocolate delight-fullness. What could be better?

The only problem is that these cookies are dangerously addictive, and you just might find yourself “accidentally” out of flour or butter more often. :) At least, that’s what I may or may not have found true in my life…

one year ago: {Healthy} Mexican Hot Chocolate Breakfast Bars
two years ago: Lime Chicken Rice Bake
three years ago: Crispy Honey Ginger Chicken

Flourless Peanut-Chocolate Cookies [from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food]
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  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter [I use regular, not natural]
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together peanut butter, sugar, egg, and baking soda. Then gently fold in chips and peanuts and mix until just combined. Scoop dough onto ungreased cookie sheets in 1 tablespoon increments, shaping into balls with moistened hands. Place two inches apart on baking sheets, then bake until cookies are golden and puffy, about 12-14 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets for five minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely…if they last that long! Enjoy!

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies.

SRC: Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares

Hello! Be sure to introduce yourself to your new favorite Christmas treat! Usually, you have to choose between chocolate and spice… but not this time!

Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares | thepajamachef.com

I made these Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares for December Secret Recipe Club, thanks to the lovely Mellissa of A Fit and Spicy Life. I was assigned her blog for the December reveal and I’m so happy about that!

Secret Recipe Club

Mellissa lives in Minneapolis, so she’s a fellow Midwesterner… although I am now a Midwestern transplant living in the South, where they call rain storms things like ‘gully washers’ or ‘frog stranglers.’ Bizarre. But anyways, back to Mellissa. She loves trying new recipes, sharing her favorite wines, and traveling. In fact… she just got back from Greece!! How cool is that?!? Definitely head over to her blog to check out her pictures from that trip–it looks incredible! Speaking of incredible, take a look at these Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares.

Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares | thepajamachef.com

Mellissa originally made these as cookies, dubbing them Chocolate Ginger Drops. They had cherry flavored dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips, and were cute little cookies. I was so excited to make them! But I was feeling a little bit lazy. So I mixed up the dough [using extra dark chocolate chips, some crystallized ginger, and no dried cranberries], pressed it in a pan, and hoped for the best!

Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares | thepajamachef.com

And let me tell you… these Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares ARE the best. They have a chewy texture and spicy flavor from the typical ginger cookie ingredients like brown sugar, molasses, and spices. But these ginger squares are kicked up a notch because I added some minced crystallized ginger AND those dark chocolate chips! If you feel so inclined, check out Mellissa’s original recipe for instructions on making these as drop cookies, but I think the bars are equally chewy, spicy, chocolately, and delicious! Enjoy! :)

one year ago: Caramel Apple Dip
two years ago: Honey Yeast Dinner Rolls
three years ago: Sweet Potato Soup

Dark Chocolate Ginger Squares [slightly adapted from A Fit and Spicy Life]

click to print


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tablespoon crystallized ginger, minced


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan with cooking spray.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter for 30 seconds. Then add brown sugar, baking soda, ginger, and allspice. Mix to combine, then add egg and molasses and mix again.

Add flour by 1/4 cup increments, mixing in between additions. Finish by stirring in dark chocolate chips and crystallized ginger with a wooden spoon.

Press dough in prepared pan, then bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover with aluminum foil after 15 minutes so the top doesn’t get too brown.

Cool for 30 minutes before cutting into squares. Store in an air-tight container.

Time: 40 minutes.
Yield: 20 servings.

Be sure to check out other recipes from this week’s Secret Recipe Club reveal here: :)

Also linked up with: Tuesday Talent Show.