I used to be very particular about how I made drop cookies. After mixing and chilling the dough, I’d scoop it into balls – which I weighed to ensure uniformity – before baking, and then let cool several minutes before serving. The whole process took me about an hour and a half, which I was quite happy with… until I had my youngest child. Managing an infant (now a mischievous toddler) while trying to adhere to my usual preparations was nearly impossible, so, recently, I made a small change. I converted my drop cookie recipes into bar cookie recipes. What a timesaver! No chilling, no balling, no weighing. Just stir together and bake! And because they are thick like brownies, cookie bars are also just a bit more decadent than drop cookies, for those times when you really want to indulge that sweet tooth. These oatmeal raisin scotchie bars are a particular favorite among my family and friends alike. Many who have tried them for the first time are completely unfamiliar with butterscotch chips, and so are always pleasantly surprised at the flavor when they bite into them. — H. Weal
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup (120 grams) flour
3/4 teaspoons chai spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (120 grams) rolled oats
1/2 cup (3 ounces) raisins
1/2 cup (3 ounces) butterscotch chips
8-inch square baking pan, greased
electric mixer with large bowl
measuring cups and spoons
1. Set oven to 375 degrees. With mixer on medium speed, beat together butter and both sugars in bowl until mixture is fluffy.
2. Add flour, egg, chai spice, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Beat until well blended.
3. With mixing spoon, fold in oats, raisins, and butterscotch chips until evenly distributed.
4. Spread dough evenly into pan and bake until the center looks dry — about 20 minutes.
5. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 12 bars.
NOTES & TIPS
• I use kosher salt in all my cooking, and baking is no exception. Some larger granules never fully dissolve by the end, which gives my baked treats a sometimes surprising, but always subtle, salty-sweet flavor. I enjoy this little twist, but if you do not, simply replace kosher salt with table salt in the recipe above.
• BONUS RECIPE: Oatmeal Raisin Bars: Replace butterscotch chips with raisins (for a total of 1 cup (6 ounces) raisins).
• BONUS RECIPE: Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Bars: Replace butterscotch chips with chocolate chips.