Butterscotch Bars

I made an honest effort with these, really. I was set on making a “light” dessert to accompany the semi-healthy meal I was cooking for dinner. I spotted this lightened up version of butterscotch bars on Cooking Light and I had every intention of following the recipe…

For one, I don’t like following recipes. Yes, I know I write a blog based on sharing recipes, but with a few exceptions I usually use recipes as guidelines, often failing to read them thoroughly or throwing in whatever amounts I see fit. Most of what I share is modified from its original version and the recipes I post here reflect my changes.

The other problem is the “light” version of this recipe didn’t contain nearly enough butter for me to classify it as dessert. See, for me dessert needs to either contain chocolate or an acceptable amount of butter (and while I enjoy fruit-based sweets, I refuse to recognize them as desserts…they merely help me reach my recommended daily serving of fruit). Hence, I ended up using a whole stick of butter, instead of the original 5 tablespoons. I also used more butterscotch chips, used less flour, greased the pan with butter, and cut the batch into 15 bars (compared to the 36 individual servings advised by Cooking Light…moderation is not my strong point). If you’re set on making the healthy version, I’ve provided the link to the original recipe below (as I do with all of my recipes).

The result of my fat-laden refusal to follow directions? Heavenly. My mom described these as “like blondies, but better.”

Butterscotch Bars

Makes about 15 servings, or 36 if you have self control

Adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Cooking spray (OR more butter *sheepish grin*)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 package butterscotch morsels (11 ounces)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl. Stir in vanilla and egg. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and baking soda in a bowl. Add oat mixture to brown sugar mixture, add the extra 2 tablespoons of butter and stir with a fork until combined*. Place 3 cups oat mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with cooking spray (or greased with butter, holla!); press into bottom of pan. Set aside.

Place sweetened condensed milk, butterscotch morsels, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at high 1 minute or until butterscotch morsels melt, stirring every 20 seconds. Stir in walnuts. Scrape mixture into pan, spreading evenly over crust. Sprinkle evenly with remaining oat mixture, gently pressing into butterscotch mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Place pan on a cooling rack; run a knife around outside edge. Slice into bars while still warm and gooey, about 30 minutes after cooling.

* Mixture will be crumbly but should still be moist. If still very dry, keep adding melted butter in increments of 1 tablespoon until consistency is damp enough that if pressed together in the palm of your hand it sticks together. It should be brown/tan in color, not white.


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