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Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars

Chocolate chip cookies range from crispy to chewy, and hit every possible texture in between. Oatmeal raisin cookies, on the other hand, almost always aim for a nice, chewy consistency. This chewiness mimics the chewiness of the raisins baked into the dough and gives the cookies a uniform texture where individual flavors can stand out. At least, that’s my theory.

I made this batch of oatmeal raisin cookies into bars, rather like blondies. Blondies are bar cookies modeled after brownies, but with a non-chocolate base. They should have a chewy texture to them and a richer feel than a single, much thinner, cookie. This consistency seemed ideal for an oatmeal raisin theme. I used lots of oats in my batter and less flour than I might ordinarily use for cookies, as there was no danger of the cookies spreading too much or losing their shape within the pan. I stuck with the usual spices – cinnamon and nutmeg – and added some vanilla in to keep the flavor classic. And I used a ton of raisins.

The finished bars were satisfyingly thick and quite chewy. They were fantastic with coffee, really, and I’m sure they would be excellent with milk, as well. The flavors of the oats and the raisins really shone here, with the spices taking backstage. Melted butter contributed to the chewiness of the bars by tenderizing, but not aerating, the dough. All the oats keep the bars tender, as well. I used quick cooking oats, not instant. If you only have whole rolled oats, you can pulse them in a food processor a few times to break them up before using.

Try not to overbake these, as the texture will be less chewy and the bars could eventually become dry (they are fairly moist, for a cookie, when properly baked). I judge cookies to be done by looking for a golden brown color around the edges and for the cookie to look “set” and not wet/raw in the center. The standards are the same here, and the top of the bars should take on a light golden color as the bars finish baking.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 cups quick cooking (not instant) oats
1 1/2 cups raisins

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper (optional, but aids in getting cookies out of pan).
Whisk together flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and spices in a large bowl.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and stir in vanilla, egg and melted butter until smooth. Stir in oats and raisins until they are evenly distributed.
Pour dough into prepared pan and spread into a even layer with a spatula or your fingers.
Bake for 22-26 minutes, or until bars are set and the center no longer looks wet. Edges will be golden brown. Cool pan on a wire rack before slicing.
Cut into 18 rectangular bars to serve.

Makes 18.

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  • Deb Zemek
    August 22, 2008

    These sound good but I don’t like raisins (I know, how could I not like raisins) – could I substitute dates for the raisins or do you think they’d be too sweet?


  • Sarah
    August 23, 2008

    This looks great! I’ve been looking for an easy granola-bar style recipe for my little guy and these look perfect! Thank you!


  • Nicole
    August 23, 2008

    Sarah – You might want to try this recipe, too, if what you’re looking for is a granola type bar: http://bakingbites.com/2008/02/coconut-almond-cranberry-granola-bars/

  • Dorit
    August 23, 2008

    These are exactly what I am looking for. Thanks!

  • Eva
    August 24, 2008

    This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for Nic. Thanks! I think bars are much easier to control and portion than cookies, and I’m a big fan of the soft + chewy version of oatmeal cookies. Martha did a very similar version in EF, but it doesn’t look anywhere near as yummy as yours 🙂

  • Judy McGee
    August 24, 2008

    These bars sound really good. I’m always on the lookout for things for my husband’s packed lunch that would give energy and also would work with his diabetes.
    I am wondering with the sweeteness of the raisins, can I cut the sugars down, or can I use sweeteners especially in the place of the granulated sugar?
    I found this site recently and am so enjoying it!

  • Pepsakoy
    August 24, 2008

    Thanks for the recipe..I already gave it a try ( with rum in it though) and it came out fantantic..I do like the taste and texture !! Thanks again..

  • Lisa
    August 29, 2008

    I made these today and all my expectations where met. The bars were very hearty…bursting with raisins and spices…YUM. Easy to prepare and just enough! Lots of “mmmm’s” from my family.

  • This recipe looks great! I’m going to try it later tonight.

  • Gina
    April 11, 2010

    These were great, I just love the chewy texture.

  • Magic of Spice
    October 18, 2010

    These look delicious…

  • Jekala
    December 7, 2013

    Just came out of the oven.added some chocolate chips on top and these are delicious!great with coffee.definately going in the recipe folder.thanks!

  • martha swaim
    April 8, 2014

    I like raisins, but some of my family and friends do not. I substituted a bag of shredded coconut for the raisins. Slightly less sweet, I think. Coconut, like raisins, cooperates with the chewy theme! Yum.

  • Karen
    July 17, 2015

    Fantastic recipe! This has been the happy exchange for a quick oatmeal cookie. For Deb, I’ve made them with raisins, orange zest and pecans, delicious.
    Nicole, Do you think this could double into a 9 X 13″ pan? I died want to loose the perfect chewy texture. Thank you for an informative blog and a great cookbook! Happy Baking!

  • Nicole
    July 21, 2015

    Karen – Yes, that shouldn’t be a problem. Cookies for all!

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