Quick New Year's Day Dessert: Baby Ruth Bars
Need a dessert for New Year's Day that doesn't take long, isn't too decadent, and tastes great? Try Baby Ruth Bars. The bars take only a few minutes to mix up and are made with lots of oats for whole-grain goodness--or at least less guilt, given that diet season apparently is on the way. The bars also include lots of peanuts and peanut butter for healthy protein. Why the name? Well, Baby Ruth bars were one of my Mom's favorites, and I decided to try a dessert that included the flavors she loved in the candy bar--lots of peanuts, caramel, and chocolate. The bars are far more nutritious than candy bars, but I think they do include the essential elements. Try them and see what you think. Just be warned. You'll go back for more than one bar.
Baby Ruth Bars -- Makes a 9 x 13-inch Pan
3 cups of rolled oats (Old Fashioned)
1 can of caramel sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
1 cup of peanut butter, divided
2 cups of peanuts, divided
1 cup of chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9 x 13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray or line the pan with aluminum foil and coat the foil with spray. In a large bowl, combine the oats, sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup of the peanut butter, and 1 cup of the peanuts. Stir the mixture until everything is thoroughly combined. Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and, with damp hands, press it into the pan evenly. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 cup of peanuts and press the peanuts into the mixture. Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes or until they're set and barely browning at the edges. While the bars are cooling for a few minutes, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of peanut butter and the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe container and microwave them for 1-2 minutes, stirring the mixture every 15-30 second until the chips melt and the mixture is smooth. Spread the chocolate mixture evenly on the top of the still-warm bars. Let the bars sit until cool and the chocolate hardens before cutting them.