Long ago and far away, I copied this recipe on to a scrap of paper that I later glued to a standard recipe card that went into the file with the rest of recipes I collected. As much as possible, I always tried to document my sources, but this one says only, "From a magazine in a dr's waiting room about 72 or 73."
From the first time I tried it, I realized the original was quite bland, so I have continued to increase spices and make other changes until I arrived at this more interesting version.
From the start, I also realized that the name, "Apple Oatmeal Bars," seemed misapplied. Given the 8 inch square pan it called for, this was much more like a cake, and I usually served it as such. However, one day, when I was looking for a bar cookie recipe using apples and oatmeal, I decided to try this one in a different pan. The result was a much more satisfying bar cookie, especially with the addition of a light powdered sugar frosting topping.
Whichever way you decide to serve it, this is an excellent recipe to keep around for a dessert that will fill your kitchen with old-fashioned home-baked aroma.
Apple Oatmeal Bar Cookies--or Cake
1/3 c oil
3/4 c brown sugar
3/4 c flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves
1 c oatmeal
1 1/2 c finely diced apples (pack lightly in measuring cup)
1/2 c coarsely chopped walnuts
1. Beat the oil, brown sugar, and eggs together until smooth and light colored.
2. Stir in the oatmeal and diced apples and stir just until they are evenly mixed in.
3. For cake:
Pour the batter into a well-oiled 8 inch square pan. Sprinkle the nuts evenly over the top and press in lightly with the back of a spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 32 to 35 minutes, until the center springs back when pressed lightly with a finger.
For bar cookies:
Pour the batter into a well-oiled 9 X 12 inch pan. Sprinkle the nuts evenly over the top and press in lightly with the back of a spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, until the center springs back when pressed lightly with a finger.
NOTE: For this version, you may want to increase the amount of nuts sprinkled over the top.
4. Serving suggestions:
Serve warm or cooled, topped with whipped cream or ice cream. (If you REALLY want to make this special, serve it warm with ice cream and then a drizzle of caramel sauce over the top.)
For bar cookies:
Make a thin powdered sugar icing and drizzle lightly over the bars. Allow the frosting to set before cutting.