Oatmeal bars hit the spot on cool evenings

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Spider webs are my least favorite thing right now. Has anyone else noticed the webs everywhere around their home and garden this season? I even find bridges of them from car to car in my driveway in the morning.

I was pretty ambivalent about spiders until last year. My youngest teen was the recipient of a spider bite that got infected. I mildly freaked out about the raised red line that traveled from the bite up his arm.

The result was two separate trips to urgent care, two super-dose antibiotic shots and two rounds of antibiotics (it’s true: take every last pill). And I had a newfound dislike for spiders.

So, as I have discovered the black widow spiders living under my outdoor barbeque grill, the hairy brown spiders that have taken up residence on the back of my lawn chairs, and the yet-unseen spiders that are slowly covering the plants on my patio with webs, none are as irritating as the one living in my minivan.

Like many people, I like to leave the windows of my car slightly cracked for air circulation, especially in hot weather. Remember those driveway spider web bridges I mentioned earlier? Spiders apparently can’t resist an open car window.

One morning earlier this month, I got into my van, started it, and looked behind me as I backed out of the driveway, and was horrified to see a giant web between the two middle seats. I nearly caused a wreck in my own driveway.

I did manage to sweep out my van and air it out, thinking that solved the problem. The next day, my daughter and I were on our way to the gym when she opened the door of my van and was greeted by a giant web in the front passenger seat.

She said, “Gee Mom, haven’t had any passengers lately?” Thankfully, my sweet husband vacuumed and sprayed down the inside of my van for me. That is true love. And I have not seen any spider webs in my minivan since.

Well, now that it is officially fall as of last week, I’m all about turning on the oven again and baking some yummy things to eat. Even if it is still 95 degrees during the day.

This week’s recipe comes from the Cook’s Country website. These buttery, crunchy bars hit the spot while you enjoy our cooler fall evenings. If you are eating them outside on your patio, be sure to first sweep for spider webs.


Oatmeal Butterscotch Bars

Bars:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten-free flour)
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) softened butter
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Glaze:

  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch chips

Ingredients

To make the bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and move oven rack to middle position. Line 9×13 pan with aluminum foil, allowing for a couple of inches overhang of foil on all sides.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, oats, baking soda, and salt until combined; set aside. Place butterscotch chips in a large bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat until it is nutty brown and fragrant, around 12 minutes. Pour hot butter over butterscotch chips and whisk until smooth. Add brown sugar and whisk until smooth.

Whisk in vanilla extract and egg until combined. Add flour mixture in batches, stirring with a spoon to combine. Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Transfer to a wire rack.

To make the glaze: In a small saucepan, add the brown sugar, water, and salt and bring to a simmer. Pour butterscotch chips in a small bowl and pour hot sugar mixture over it. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle glaze by the spoonful over the warm bars. Let cool about one hour. Using foil overhang, lift bar to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes. Cut into bars and serve.

 

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Betty Williams