Smitten Kitchen’s Gooey Oat Bars


  • Makes24 to 36 bars
Smitten Kitchen’s Gooey Oat Bars

(Photo: courtesy Deb Perelman)

These bake-sale worthy treats taste, in Deb Perelman’s words, “like an old-school Magic Bar, but possibly even more delicious."


  • Non-stick cooking spray

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (230 g)

  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt, or table salt

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cold unsalted butter (200 g)

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (65 g)


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (115 g)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 g)

  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar (145 g)

  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt, or table salt

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • 1 1/3 cups rolled oats (105 g)

  • 1/2 cup finely shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened (optional)

  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, chopped white or dark chocolate, candy bars, dried fruit, or a mix thereof (with the dried fruit, a mix with chocolate is best or the sweetness of the fruit will be overwhelming)

  • Icing sugar, to finish


  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-x-13-in. baking tray (a quarter sheet pan or cake pan is fine) with parchment paper (if using a cake pan, hang the parchment over the sides so the bars are easier to remove). Lightly coat the sides with nonstick spray.

  • Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Cut the butter into chunks, and add it to the bowl, then run the machine until the mixture forms large clumps—that’s right, just keep running it; it might take another 30 seconds for it to come together, but it will. Transfer the dough clumps to the prepared baking pan and press them evenly across the bottom and 1/4 in. up the sides. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until very pale golden.

  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Melt your butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter, stirring frequently, until golden brown bits form at the bottom, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugars and salt. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, and stir in the oats, coconut (if using), and chocolate, fruit, and/or candy.

  • Pour over the parbaked crust, spreading evenly.

  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is firm and golden and the bars are set or, at most, barely jiggle if shimmied. The bars are much easier to cut cleanly from the fridge, but they are gooiest when warm. Dust with powdered sugar before serving or selling for the prettiest finish.

Make-ahead tip Store at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the fridge for longer.

Find more of our best dessert square recipes

Excerpted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favourites.

Get more recipes from Deb Perelman.

This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.