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oatmeal marble chip squares, dairy style

One of my earliest childhood memories is zipping down a tall metal slide during Vacation Bible School . . . and falling right off the end onto my rump. 

I couldn't breathe. I started to panic. The pain was shooting up my spine. I was pretty sure I was going to die right there on the grass in front of our little Lutheran church.

Then a kind grandma, Shirley Stowater, stepped in, like my very own Florence Nightingale, and clapped me on the back.

I gasped and took a deep breath, and the world was suddenly full of color and life and, well, air again. 

My near-death experience on the slide has nothing to do with dessert, but it does have something to do with Shirley, who graciously shared this recipe for oatmeal marble chip squares in our small town's quasquicentennial cookbook. 

Here's the good news: Shirley's ooey, gooey dessert is all about dairy too! It not only calls for butter, but the finished product washes down pretty perfectly with a glass of cold milk. 

Side note: As a single gal, I was all about margarine. But word on the street is that when you grow up and start to eat, you know, things other than cereal and nachos, you start to use butter. I must say, it's been a delicious transition. 

And a side note to the side note: Do you all call these bars or brownies? In Iowa, they're bars. 

End of conversation. 

Either way, these are pretty quick to make. I combined the butter and sugars (while heating up my husband's lunch and even making sure not to feed him butter or toss the roast in the mixing bowl. Some days, it's the little things).

Add some baking soda, salt, vanilla and eggs and let your mixer work its magic while you nabbing a bite to eat with your husband. 

Flour and oatmeal are added at the end, and then comes the best part . . . wait for it . . . 

chocolate chips! You can add nuts if you want, but that would be a silly thing to do because everyone knows you don't add nuts to baked goods. AmIright?

Pop your pan in the oven and let that bad boy bake while you finish up your lunch. By the time you're ready to do the dishes, it'll be done, and you can burn your mouth on the gooey, chocolatey results. 

Or you can wait a few minutes. And pour yourself a glass of milk. Or two.

But I won't judge if you're willing to burn your tastebuds off to have a bite of this dessert.

Not that I'm saying I'm speaking from experience or anything.

So the next time you're looking for an uber-fast, tasty, dairy friendly dessert, try out Shirley's oatmeal marble chip squares. And then let me know what they're called in your kitchen: bars or brownies?

Or squares. 

Because something tells me, that's just how Shirley would like it.


1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. water
2 eggs
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup nuts (if you must!)
1/2 pkg. chocolate chips

Mix together all ingredients and put in a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 375 degrees until brown. 

{Shirley's recipe ends with just one word: DELICIOUS! And she's right.}


  1. I tried making these. I didn't know how long to bake them. I put them in for 15 minutes. Then tried them (too gooey). Put them in for another 12...still gooey, but darker. I also substituted the 2 cups of oats for 7 "individual plain oatmeal" packets. Thanks

    1. Ha! Good to know oatmeal packets do the trick. And yes, these bars do firm up as they cool, so when they're golden brown, let them sit for a bit and they should be GTG.

  2. These look delicious! And I'm with you. Nuts in my dessert? No thanks. But chocolate? Always!

    1. Amen and amen. And raisins in cookies? Just a cruel trick.

    2. Raisins are just sad grapes, and they do not deserve to be in a cookie. End of story.

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