Welcome to Day 4 of my #Chenees12Days 12 Days of Christmas Cookies celebration! I've been really looking forward to today's recipe because there's nothing better than oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! Except it turns out there is something better, and it's these brown butter oatmeal cookie bars with a salted Nutella swirl.
It's kind of a mouthful to say, but I wanted to put it all in the title so you know all the goodness you're getting in these oatmeal cookie bars! They start with a super easy one-bowl oatmeal cookie dough with brown butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Then that dough is pressed into a pan and swirled with warmed Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread. Once baked, they're sprinkled with sea salt and cut into bars. It's an easy and decadent treat that gives you everything you could want!
Can you use one minute oats in cookies or bars?
We're going for texture here, so I wouldn't recommend it. Quick-cooking or instant oats will lose most of their texture while the bars are baking, and we want our oats will keep some of their structure and add great texture to our cookie bars to contrast with the creamy Nutella on top.
So what you'll want to look for are old-fashioned oats, usually for sale in the large cylindrical containers in the breakfast aisle of the supermarket. Or you can grab some online. Either way, the old-fashioned kind are the best for these oatmeal cookie bars! Now let's take a look at the rest of the ingredients we'll need:
- brown butter - this is what gives the oatmeal cookie bars that rich nutty flavor, and complements the hazelnut flavor in the Nutella perfectly! I use salted butter to make my brown butter, but if you use unsalted butter, just add a ½ teaspoon of salt to your dry ingredients. I'll give you instructions below, but also check out my full post on how to brown butter!
- brown sugar - you can use light or dark brown sugar, or do what I do and use a mix of both!
- eggs - your eggs should be room temperature so that they don't cool down your cookie dough too much.
- vanilla extract - it should be a good-quality pure vanilla extract, to make sure that you're really bringing out the delicious vanilla and nutty flavors in these oatmeal cookie bars!
- old-fashioned oats - as I mentioned above, definitely use old-fashioned oats to give your cookie bars more of that oatmeal texture!
- all-purpose flour - measure your flour by weight using a kitchen scale, or with the spoon-and-level method.
- baking powder - to give a little lift to these cookie bars.
- cinnamon - this is optional, but I love the flavor of a bit of spice along with the brown butter, chocolate, and hazelnut.
- Nutella - or you can use your favorite chocolate-hazelnut spread. We're heating it up a bit to give it a slightly pourable consistency, and then we'll swirl it into our cookie dough in the pan.
- flaky sea salt - also optional, but the saltiness on top of these cookie bars works so well with the sweet Nutella!
Now that you've got your ingredients together, here's what you'll need to make these easy oatmeal cookie bars! You'll want to grab a 9x9 square baking pan, a whisk and rubber spatula, and a bowl! And you'll also need a sauté pan (light-colored, if possible) to brown your butter. And that's pretty much it!
If you're a fan of these oatmeal cookie bars, you'll really love my Funfetti Cookie Cheesecake Bars. They're one of my favorite recipes, made from 5 easy ingredients! And they're made in the same 9x9 pan we're using for this recipe, so you're well on your way to enjoying them!
For more oatmeal cookie goodness, try my Coconut Macadamia Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks. They're a soft, chunky oatmeal cookie full of toasted macadamias, shredded coconut, and creamy white chocolate. All the flavors and textures you could ask for in an oatmeal cookie!
Equipment you may need
- 1⅛ cup salted butter - (2 sticks plus 2 tbsp); cut into chunks
- 1¼ cup brown sugar - packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup Nutella - or another chocolate-hazelnut spread
- flaky sea salt - for sprinkling
- Melt butter over medium-high heat, stirring. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until butter solids turn a rich caramel brown color and smells nutty. Immediately transfer to a heatproof container; set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x9 square baking pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides.
- Whisk together brown butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until lightened and fluffy.
- Whisk in eggs until fully incorporated, followed by vanilla.
- Stri in oats with a rubber spatula until well combined.
- Sift in flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Fold with rubber spatula until flour mixture is just incorporated.
- Spread dough into prepared pan and smooth with spatula or floured hands.
- Heat Nutella in a microwave-safe container about 15 seconds. It should have a thinner, pourable consistency.
- Pour nutella over dough and use a butter knife to swirl.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
- Cool 10 minutes in pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Sprinkle sea salt on top and cut into bars.
PIN this brown butter oatmeal cookie bars for later!