Am I the only one who feels like grocery shopping these days is like a real-life video game?
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get in and out as quickly as possible, using the most efficient route to navigate the one-way aisles, dodging people and shopping carts as you go, all in the hopes of coming out the other end with all the things on your list.
Except someone put this particular game on Expert Mode and I've never been particular good at video games to begin with, so half the time it turns out the items I wanted are sold out, or only available in the jumbo-sized organic version for ten times the regular price.
It's times like these that make me grateful for simple desserts like these easy five-ingredient butterscotch oat bars. They're the perfect antidote to the grocery-shopping blues because they're sweet and satisfying and require just a few basic ingredients I've already got kicking around in the pantry.
And even better, this recipe doesn't require flour, which is a nice bonus since it's been sold out for weeks every time I've gone shopping for the last 8 weeks!
The Easiest Butterscotch Oat Bar EVER
I first spotted this recipe in a vintage pamphlet from Robin Hood. I was intrigued by the fact that it required just a handful of ingredients and was described as "crispy, chewy - like candy".
Most other butterscotch oat bars I've tried are basically just a big oatmeal cookie with butterscotch chips that's been pressed into a pan and then cut up into squares.
Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with oatmeal cookies, but there was something really appealing about the absolute bare-bones simplicity of this recipe.
We're talking about butter, brown sugar and oats, plus a little baking powder and salt. So easy, it feels like cheating.
The only tricky part about this recipe is waiting for the bars to cool off completely before diving in. It's not easy to resist, but it's totally worth it.
They come out of the oven very soft and fragile, but set up to sweet, chewy perfection as they cool. The easiest way to describe the end result is a sweet-and-salty bar that's somewhere at the intersection of oatmeal cookie and crunchy granola bar.
The finished bars will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container. As time goes on, they'll lose their chewiness and morph into a sort of oatmeal brittle, which I actually enjoyed even more than the freshly-baked bars!
More Easy-Peasy Five-Ingredient Desserts
It's no secret that I'm a fan of easy recipes that require a minimum of fuss, and that goes double when it comes to my desserts.
Here are a few of my favourite desserts that can be quickly whipped up using just a handful of ingredients:
- 5-Minute Cookie Butter Fudge
- Chewy Soft Amaretto Cookies
- "Instant" Frozen Yogurt
- Nutella Banana Ice Cream
- Salted Caramel Blondies
These sweet, chewy bars are as easy as can be - all you need is five basic pantry ingredients and 15 minutes. And, as a bonus, they're naturally gluten-free!
- 1 cup quick-cook oats
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup melted butter
- Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking pan, and line with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Add the melted butter, and stir to combine.
- Press the mixture into the prepared baking pan in an even layer. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges.
- Let the bars cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Slice into bars while still warm, then set aside to cool completely before removing from the pan. The bars will be very soft when they come out of the oven, but will set up as they cool.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Canadian