Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Bars

The rich, dense, chewy texture of a blondie, but these cookie bars are also loaded with chocolate chips, coconut, oatmeal and tart cherries, then topped with red and green M&Ms to dress them up for the holidays.

It’s a deliciously decadent bar cookie filled with all of my favorite cookie ingredients. I cut them on the diagonal to create the diamond shape. Pillsbury has a diagram on how to cut them, as well as other Secrets For Bar Cookies And Brownies.

I created this cookie for a holiday cookie article in the new FoodieCrush magazine. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you need to. It’s so well done, the layout and photography are gorgeous. It’s a feast for the eyes, as well as loaded with fun articles, great recipes, and entertaining and gift ideas from talented food bloggers across the country.

I’m proud to be a small part of the debut issue and wish Heidi much success with her new venture.[/donotprint]

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Bars

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup dried cherries, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup red & green M&Ms, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to 350º if using a metal pan or 325º if using a glass pan.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large mixing bowl mix the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the eggs one at a time mix until well blended. Mix in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until blended. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, coconut and cherries.
  4. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and sprinkle M&Ms on top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. (Don’t overcook.)
  5. Cool on a rack to room temperature before cutting.
  6. Optional: Cut bars on the diagonal to form diamonds.
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Comments

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  1. Micaela P. says

    Hi Barbara! Made these for dessert on Christmas Eve, once again a huge hit :) This time, instead of regular M&Ms, I used the coconut M&Ms and I highly recommend this sub to you and others! (for those of us who love coconut) This bar recipe is awesome.

  2. Micaela P. says

    I finally made these last night, so delicious! I thought I’d comment on a few things for the benefit of others who may try them: I baked them in a glass pan, so I followed your directions & baked at 325* instead of 350*. This caveat is great because when following other recipes for bars the edges have gotten very crusty & close to burnt before the middle set. But I did have to bake longer, 40mins (could have probably left them 5 more without overcooking).

    The other thing is that, for me, the flavor of the chocolate chips overpowered the cherry & coconut flavors, so next time I’ll use either milk chocolate chips or 1/2 cup instead of a full cup of chips. Thank you for this great recipe, I’ll be making it a LOT!!! :)

    • says

      Hi Micaela – thank you for letting me know you made and really liked this recipe. I appreciate that you took the time to leave tips to help others baking it in a glass pan. Makes me want to bake it again with less chocolate to see if it really is better. Happy New Year!

      • Micaela P. says

        Hi Barbara! I *really* appreciate it when other people who have tried a recipe come back & post about their experience, as it helps me know what issues to expect in my less-than-ideal kitchen. So I hope my comments are useful. I also wanted to add that my “problem” with the chocolate overwhelming the cherries is probably due to both the chips and the cherries I used. It sometimes amazes me how much an ingredient can affect the flavor profile of a dish — in this case, I used Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chips, which I tend to use less of in recipes because they have a stronger chocolate flavor than other brands of chips. I also used dried cherries from Trader Joe’s, and noticed before baking that their flavor was pretty mild. In my experience, dried fruit from Costco, Kirkland brand (what you used), has a stronger, juicier & brighter flavor. All this to say that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the recipe as you wrote it, just that some of us need to know our ingredients and adjust accordingly ;) However, if you tinker with the recipe too, please come back & share!

        I’m already planning on making these again next week, to bring to a family get-together ♥

  3. says

    At first glance, these look like the Christmas fruit cakes my Mom used to love with the colorful candied fruits. Red and green M&Ms and dried cherries are so much more palatable. ;)

    The magazine is a fun read – very slick but very non-intimidating. Your presence on it makes it all the more enjoyable.

  4. says

    Yum! What a great combo. Love the way you cut the bars to look like a star. I just saw those mini red & green M&Ms. Everything is so fun and festive this time of year!

  5. says

    This will perhaps be my favorite, all occasion treat. You can just have the M&Ms colors on top changed depending on the occasion. All red for valentines day, (cut the cookies in heart shaped perhaps…) Colorful M&Ms for kiddie parties…etc, etc…You cannot run out of ideas with this recipe’s versatility. This is just what i need! Thanks a lot! Excellent post!

  6. says

    I love these kinds of cookies when you are doing “mass production” this time of year. They are so much easier to make than individual cookies!

    I also love the red and green. I’m putting them on the menu for the Christmas Open House!!!

    Merry Christmas, sweetie!

  7. says

    This is such a festive treat. It’ll be a nice dessert to make for the Holiday gatherings. I love your finishing touch on the arrangement of the bars.

    Congrats on being a part of the Magazine. I’m drooling over all the yummy recipes and gorgeous photography. :) Thanks for sharing.