Since a few of you don’t jump up and down drooling for peanut butter and chocolate, I made you a peanut butter-less version of Reese’s P.Bitty Bars. You get the same gooey chocolate middle and crumbly oatmeal layers, minus the peanut butter. Besides, I really needed to use up a bag of red and green M&M’s before I bring home Halloween candy.
Candy-coated Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
Creamy chocolate filling:
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats, or quick-cooking oats are fine too
1/2 cup M&M’s mini baking bits (You can use regular M&M’s, just chop them up.)
Preheat oven to 350. Line 13×9 baking pan with non-stick foil, letting ends extend over edges. Or, simply spray baking pan with cooking spray.
Over low heat in a small saucepan, slowly melt chocolate and sweetened condensed milk, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for 1 minute, then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside to cool while you make the dough.
In a large mixing bowl, beat softened butter, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Beat until fluffy. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating just until combined. Stir in oatmeal. Mix will be crumbly. Firmly press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the pan.
Spread the chocolate filling evenly over the dough.
With a pastry blender or with your hands, mix M&M’s baking bits into the remaining dough and then sprinkle over the chocolate. Lightly press the mixture into the chocolate so that once baked, the topping doesn’t fall off when you cut the bars.
Bake 25-30 minutes until lightly brown. Cool completely. If you used a foil-lined pan, pull the bars out and cut into squares on a cutting board. Otherwise, cut bars in pan. Store in an airtight container.