Fudge Ribbon Bars
Tips: If you were around in the 1980's, you
probably remember these cookies. A brown sugar-oat layer forms both
top and bottom crust, and there's an easy-to-make ribbon of fudge
inside. These were incredibly popular for some time, but I haven't
seen any in years. I'm reviving them here, as they deserve it. These
are great make-ahead cookies, as they are stored and served cold.
While it's possible to store them in the fridge, I like them better
frozen (and they don't dry out nearly as quickly as they do in the
You'll need a 13 by 9 inch pan at least 1-3/4 inches deep to make
these. An electric stand mixer is a help, but not absolutely necessary.
I was accustomed to using 15 ounce cans of condensed milk in recipes,
but now I am unable to find anything other than 14 ounce cans, so
that's what I've used here. Don't be concerned if you don't have
enough crust mixture to cover the entire top of the fudge layer,
as having some of it peek through the top crust adds to the cookies'
visual appeal. If you are laboring under the delusion that frozen
cookies won't find favor with a crowd on a cold day, make a batch
of these and you'll soon find out differently. Great for parties!
- 2-1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 12 Tbsp. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 eggs, graded "large"
- 2-1/4 cups old fashioned OR quick oats (do not use instant oatmeal)
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- 3 squares (3 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 Tbsp. (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into thin pats
- 3 Tbsp. water
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 350
degrees F. Line a 13 by 9 inch pan (at least 1-3/4 inches deep),
with heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side up. Press out as many
creases as possible inside the pan; fold any extra foil back over
the outside edges of the pan.
For Crust: Into medium bowl, sift together flour, baking
soda, and salt. Set aside briefly. In large bowl of electric mixer,
combine softened butter, sugars, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed
for a minute or two, until well-blended and creamy; with rubber
spatula, scrape bowl and beater(s) occasionally during mixing process
for thorough blending of ingredients. Add eggs, one at a time, beating
in well after each. Beating at a low speed, add sifted dry ingredients
in two additions. Finally, add oats, beating in until evenly distributed.
(This process can also be done by hand in a large bowl with a large,
sturdy spoon; the dough is probably too stiff for a hand-held mixer,
Reserve a generous 1-1/2 cups of the crust mixture. By small spoonfuls,
place the rest into the foil-lined pan. With back of a large spoon,
a spatula, or your lightly-floured hands, press gently to form an
even layer. The dough will be sticky and a bit difficult to handleOK.
For Fudge Ribbon: Place all ingredients except vanilla into
large microwaveable bowl. Microwave at medium (50%) power for about
1 minute. Stir thoroughly. Continue to microwave at medium (50%)
power for shorter intervals, stirring well after each, until mixture
is almost smooth, then stir well until melted, smooth, and blended.
(this can also be done in a large heatproof bowl set over simmering
waterthe water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir
well until melted and smooth, then remove from heat and hot water.)
Stir in vanilla.
Pour fudge ribbon on top of bottom crust. Spread evenly to within
about 1/2 inch of each edge (some of the fudge ribbon will spread
beyond this borderOK, just don't get it too thick at the edges).
The fudge ribbon will be a thick layer.
By small spoonfuls, place the reserved crust mixture
over the top of the fudge ribbon, again trying to stay about 1/2
inch away from all edges. You won't cover all of the fudge layer,
but this is not a problem.
Bake in preheated oven for 23 to 28 minutes, or until top is a
light golden brown. The center will still seem a bit loose if the
pan is shaken gently. Do not overbake! Remove to cooling rack. Cool
completely at room temperature, then chill in refrigerator, covering
tightly when cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
To cut, remove pan from refrigerator; remove block of cookies,
still in foil lining, from pan. Place on large cutting board. Gently
peel back foil from sides. Using a large, heavy, sharp, straight-edged
knife, cut off about 1/2 inch from each edge. I cut these into 48
bars, as they are quite rich. You'll have to use effort to cut through
these, as the bars are thick and dense. It will also be necessary
to rinse the knife blade under warm water, then dry it, frequently.
Store the cut bars airtight in the refrigerator for up to a few
days (freeze for longer storage) or store and serve frozen.
Yield: 48 bars
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