Chewy Chocolate, Oat & Raisin Cookie Bars

15 Comments on Chewy Chocolate, Oat & Raisin Cookie Bars

One of the (many) things I love about having a little person in my life is the way he’s made me reappraise my relationship with people I don’t know. Sitting on the quieter side of the social spectrum and living in London where everyone (with a few exceptions) is happy to go about their daily lives without so much as a ‘good morning’, I’m not much one for speaking to strangers if I don’t have to. But it’s impossible not to wave and smile along with Nino’s uninhibited attempts to make friends with any and everyone. Over the past year I’ve found myself striking up conversations in the shops and playground or on the bus. And even the surliest of strangers find it hard not to crack a smile at his full bodied, double handed wave. It’s incredibly sweet to watch. 

I’m sure I’ve said it at every milestone, but thirteen months has to be my favourite age yet. Nino is walking, talking (or attempting to, we hear a lot of ‘do do’ and frantic gesticulating) and generally going about the daily process of learning about this big wide world in an utterly adorable way. Things get systematically pulled from the shelves, inspected, stuck inside one another, sometimes licked, then discarded. Anything that isn’t a toy is especially attractive and current favourites include sweeping up with an adult size broom, talking on the phone (his pretend version cut the mustard for all of about, oh, five minutes), throwing anything and everything into the toilet bowl if we forget to leave the lid down and taking rubbish to the front door (his ability to carry a bin bag twice his size and weight down the corridor kind of reminds me of a heroic and industrious ant). 

All this newfound energy seems, miraculously, to have influenced his sleep for the better, though for fear of jinxing things I’ll leave the analysis there. Suffice to say Mummy and Daddy Loaf are looking a little less bleary eyed each day and I’m hoping we may keep those grey hairs at bay for another few years yet. Parenting a toddler is still exhausting in other ways though, so we’re always appreciative of a high energy snack that’s simple to make and lasts a good few days.

Cue these chip cookie bars, a one bowl wonder of a recipe that bakes up in less than half an hour before cooling into sweet, chewy bars, hearty with oats and studded with juicy raisins and pockets of chocolate. The perfect treat to share (in small amounts, it’s pretty sugary) with your toddler, pack as a snack or even share with one of our new found (not-so) stranger friends. 

Chewy Chocolate, Oat & Raisin Cookie Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Crisp on the edges, chewy in the middle with texture from oats, chunks of milk chocolate and juicy raisins.
Recipe type: Baking
Serves: 16
  • 160g flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 90g raisins
  • 120g rolled oats
  • 225g milk chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Lightly butter 23cm square pan and line the base with baking parchment.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on high-speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk until smooth. At this point, the mixture may look curdled and you can take a hand whisk to it and give it a few energetic stirs to get it to come back together. (It may still look a bit separated after, but not to worry.)
  5. Stir in the flour mixture, then stir in the raisins, oats, and chocolate chips just until combined.
  6. Spread the batter evenly in the baking pan and bake the bars for 20 to 25 minutes, until set round the edges, but not completely in the middle.
  7. Let cool completely in the pan then cut into squares. Will keep in an airtight container for several days.
Adapted from David Lebovitz's Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.


15 RESPONSES TO Chewy Chocolate, Oat & Raisin Cookie Bars

  1. This looks delicious! I would probably leave the raisins out though… I think I’m going to try these this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pete -

    Good Lord… to accompany his sugar hit, does Nino enjoy a nip – just a nip, mind – of bourbon, and a drag – but just a puff – on a Marlboro? Everything in moderation, right? (shakes head in disbelief)

    • admin -

      I’m really quite offended by this comment. I make all Nino’s meals from scratch, he doesn’t eat any processed food such as cereal (even Rice Krispies have sugar in) or shop bought sauces and doesn’t drink juice. He’s a healthy, happy little boy with an active lifestyle and a very diverse palate. I know we’re currently fighting a war in sugar and I’d be the first to say he shouldn’t have copious quantities of it, but the odd fingerful of a sweet treat is not going to kill him and certainly isn’t comparable to giving him alcohol or cigarettes! I think people need to relax a little bit. One crumb does not a diabetic make.

      • Pete -

        You seem fully aware that processed junk has no place inside a baby – except, seemingly, when it’s homemade by its mother. I’m afraid I’m about to compound any offence, but that’s just dumb. Your child only gets sugar in his diet because you choose to give it to him. I don’t understand why an informed parent, as you appear to be, would do that. Sugar is toxic; I can’t put it any more clearly than that. Your notion of a “treat” or “the odd fingerful” or “one crumb” typifies the cognitive dissonance at the heart of the problem of our kids’ health.

        No doubt the Mumsnet crowd will line up below to berate and harangue me, so let the kicking begin….

        • I don’t want to turn this into a slanging match either, suffice to say I’m very happy with the decisions I make as a mother. Yes, sugar in excess can be toxic, but it’s also vital for our survival and brain function. Sugar is in everything from milk to fruit to the caramelization process as a piece of meat grills. By allowing my child little tastes of homemade treats (and we’re talking very rarely, only when the rest of the family is eating something exciting and new) I’m bringing him up to have a sensible attitude towards food. I’m not turning sugar into a magical forbidden substance and yes, when he goes to birthday parties when he’s older he’ll be allowed cake and crisps and whatever the other children are having because it’s all part of growing up to be a sensible human being. Sugar shouldn’t be a treat, or a guilty pleasure or a forbidden substance – just a part of everyday eating but with an understanding that it shouldn’t be consumed in excess. And as an aside, the amount of sugar in the crumb of homemade cookie I let him have last weekend is definitely less than you’d get in a packet of raisins. So I think a little perspective is needed.

    • Carrie -

      This an exceptionally rude comment! Even if we agree with your premises that Nino shouldn’t be eating something sugary even on occasions (which, BTW, I don’t) then I’m sure you could have made your point in a gentler and kinder fashion. Your analogy is extreme and totally uncalled for.

    • Hi Pete

      You are clearly a troll. Perhaps you need another shot of wheatgrass to make you smile. Or an extra dose of flaxseed to help you with your constipation because your negativity has no place here. Kate is a loving mother, friend and wife. No child could be raised with more love and care. You need to look inward at what your point is here. This family has had a rollercoaster few years and every minute has been a focus on Nino’s healthy little heart. No doctor would question her commitment to his healthy and happiness so why do you feel it’s your job?

      I think you’re on the wrong blog, mate. Jog on and have a good day.

      • admin -

        I love you Lauren

        • Lauren -

          ^See how loving she is!

          Don’t you listen to them. I’m sure he isn’t only eating veg from his organic garden. And if he is he can start his own blog. Rise above as I know you have and will continue to do. Hugs to you and yours. Xx

  3. Molly F. C. -

    Firstly, while I always enjoy your posts, this one is especially charmingly written. You are a very good writer.
    Secondly, the cookie bars look tasty although I’m with Maddy in that I’d leave out the raisins too. The only time I can happily eat them is when they’re the tiny ones, referred to in the States as Zante Currants, in my Irish soda bread. There’s only 1/4 cup of sugar in a loaf so the remaining sweetness comes from the wee raisins (decidedly not currants though as they are a whole different fruit).
    Toddlers are so much fun. If I were in London, I’d be one of the strangers speaking to you for sure!

  4. claire -

    Well, I love the raisins in here and absolutely “HALLELUIAH”-ed at the above comeback, Kate. Such narrow-minded judgementalism is completely unwarranted. Too much sugar is indeed unhealthy, but so is raising a new generation of orthorexics.
    Looking forward to the next post.

  5. Daisy -

    These look wonderful! A perfect reason to get our bake-on this afternoon…!! This kind of home baked treat is exactly what we all (2 year old, 7 year old and myself!!) need for post nursery and school pick me ups :)) Amen and thank you sista!!
    P.s. Pete above needs to grow up.

  6. Team sultana? Can that be a thing? Hehe, I love the look of these bars, they look so inviting and who would want to turn down those melty chunks of chocolate?! Gorgeous! Each to their own with the sugar and children debate I say, as long as they’re happy and healthy what does it matter? Little Nino sounds like a right character, I remember my cousin was exceptionally strong as a toddler and was able to move tables!

  7. Owl -

    I love this post Webbita and the cookies look right up my street too. Don’t worry about unpleasant comments – we all know you’re an amazing Mum and Nino is a very lucky chappie. We’re lucky to be more informed now about the harmful effects of too much sugar than we were when you and I were growing up, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have a tiny treat now and then – honestly! Xxxx

  8. Holly -

    I made these last week (raisins and all!) and they were lovely! I had to hide the last bit so we could actually try some once it had fully cooled on day 2 – the lure of the melty chocolate (not to mention the fresh-out-of-the-oven smell) was just too much to resist, and left on the side corners kept disappearing …
    I will add though that my bars were a lot thicker than those pictured, although I did use a 23cm tin, and I had to bake them for more like 35 minutes.

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