Chocolate Oatmeal Almost Candy Bars

After two days of bars without chocolate (!?!) it’s time to get some chocolate in here. Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours is one of my favorite cookbooks. The thing has some heft. It’s bigger than a sheet of paper and a couple inches thick. And it’s HEAVY! The pictures in it are beautiful and I love reading Dorie’s little stories before each recipe.

I told Hubby that I was thinking about these bars. I know the TWD group did them not too long ago, but instead of showing him a picture, I just told him about the ingredients in the bar. He just said “eh” when I told him they had chocolate, peanuts, raisins, and oats. I have to admit, I’m not a huge raisin fan myself, but I was definitely intrigued by the combination and decided to just go for it.

Boy am I glad I did! I think everyone who got to enjoy these gems was glad I didn’t just keep searching for another recipe after Hubby was less than enthusiastic about the ingredient list. The raisins give a nice chewiness and sweetness without overpowering the bars. The peanuts and oats give a nice contrast of textures. Overall this bar has it all. They’re not overly sweet and definitely hit the spot.

On top of all that, I’ve been totally digging bars with layers recently. I’m not quite sure why but I have been gravitating towards them. I’m sure you’ll see more layered bars in the future!

One Year Ago: Crockpot Pulled Pork
Two Years Ago: Lemon Curd Cookies

Check out my entire week of bars and brownies here.

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Chocolate Oatmeal Almost Candy Bars

Yield: ~36

Ingredients:

For the oatmeal layer
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

For the chocolate layer
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup moist, plump raisins
3/4 cup coarsely chopped peanuts, preferably salted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper and place the pan on a baking sheet.

To make the oatmeal layer
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Beat the butter on medium speed until it is soft and creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat for 2 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each one. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing just until they disappear. Still on low speed, or working by hand with a rubber spatula, stir in the oats and chopped peanuts.

Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the mixture, then turn the remaining dough into the buttered pan. Gently and evenly press the dough over the bottom of the pan. Set aside while you prepare the next layer.

To make the chocolate layer
Put the condensed milk, chocolate chips, butter, and salt in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir occasionally until the milk is warm and the chocolate and butter are melted. Remove the bowl from the pan of water and stir in the vanilla, raisins, and peanuts.

Pour the warm chocolate over the oatmeal crust, then scatter the remaining oatmeal mixture over the top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the chocolate layer is dull and starting to come away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and cool for about 2 hours.

Using the parchment paper, pull the bars out of their pan and place on a rack. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting.

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35 Responses to “Homemade Ding Dongs or Ring Dings or whatever you call them”

  1. #
    1
    SimplySweeter — May 24, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Jen, I think I just died and went to heaven! Long live the Ring Ding!! LOL

    http://www.simplysweeter.blogspot.com

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    Cara — May 24, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Love this theme, so fun! The whole menu sounds delicious 🙂

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    Jane — May 24, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Hi Jen,
    Wow! These babies look really authentic. I’ve seen a lot of faux Ding Dongs in my day, and yours rank right up there. Very nice job!
    🙂 Jane

  4. #
    4
    bridget {bake at 350} — May 24, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Oh, I LOVE Ding Dongs!!! And yours look fabulous!

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    roxan — May 24, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Even at 8a on a monday morning, I feel like I could eat a whole stack of those. Great job, they look delicious!

  6. #
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    Kasey — May 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    There is a local baking partnership here in the Los Angeles area that makes individual sized cakes and treats. They also recreate classic favorites such as the Ho-Ho. Thought you might enjoy the link. http://www.cakemonkey.com/

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    Memória — May 24, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Oh your Ding Dongs look perfect. Absolutely perfect!! They make me want to jump up and make them now. Goodness!! Thanks for sharing the photos and recipe with us. I’ve yet to make the 7-minute frosting, so I’m looking forward to that.

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    Katherine — May 24, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Oh my, what a great recipe!

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    Kara — May 24, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    You’re killing me! Now I have to think about when I can fit Ring Dings into my schedule this week! They’d be so much better from scratch than they would out of the box…

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    ellysaysopa.com — May 25, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    These & oatmeal creme pies were my absolute favorite as a kid. I think they were called King Dons when I ate them. I definitely need to try this!

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    oneordinaryday — May 25, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Oh, how fun. WIsh I had a couple right now.

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    Ingrid — May 29, 2010 at 1:44 am

    Ring Dings! :)But that’s what they were called when Drake’s made them and we lived in NYC. Once we moved to FL they were Ding Dongs. Or do I have that backwards, hmm now I’m not exactly sure. Either way it wasn’t I that ate them but my Mom. I’ll have to give them a whirl for her and score some brownie points, hee-hee!

    Hope you have a safe and Happy Memorial Day weekend!
    ~ingrid

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    hannah! — May 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    omigosh YUM!! they sure do remind me of hostess cupcakes

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    Katherine — July 4, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Your ding dongs look perfect! Great job!

    I’ve been thinking of making these for my mother for her birthday next week…but since she LOVE chocolate peanut butter, I thought I would fill the cakes with a peanut butter version of the white cream. Any suggestions on what peanut butter cream I should fill them with??

    I would love your input, I trust you more than myself in this matter, haha.

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    GadgetGirl — January 4, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    FYI for anyone interested, I made mine into cupcakes since I don’t have round cake pans. The cupcakes take about 25 minutes to bake at the same temp. Really good but tons of work! Oh yeah I got 32 cupcakes using 1/4 cup batter in each cup. I had plenty of filling but I had to made a little more ganache, BUT I was a little heavy with it in the beginning so if you keep that in mind you could have enough.

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    Souffle Bombay (Colleen) — January 6, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Love these…I am an East Coat gal and I knew what you meant lol! I will NOT buy these for my kids with what is used for ingredients, but you have inspired me to make them! Thanks!

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    Carol — February 12, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Sorry to say but mine fell apart and it was entirely to much work. Much better to just go to the store and buy them.

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    Kari@Loaves n Dishes — January 5, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    These look just like the original, but I bet they’re so much more tasty. Great job!

    • beantownbaker — January 5th, 2013 @ 11:44 pm

      They sure are better than the original – a lot more work though, but definitely worth it!

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    Anna — January 17, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Can the coffee be substitutes with anything else?

    • beantownbaker — January 17th, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

      The coffee just enhances the chocolate flavor. You can just use water instead if you don’t have any coffee or don’t like coffee.

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    jennifer — February 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I just made these for my mothers birthday(ring dings are the only dessert she enjoys) they came out great! Awesome recipe

    • beantownbaker — February 3rd, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

      So glad you enjoyed them. Happy birthday to your mother!

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    Kathy — February 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    hey.. made these.. testing recipes for a summer camp job I start this June.. so good, but might stick with cupcakes for kids..
    took cake chunks and extra frosting.. made cake balls! Rolled in melted peanut butter then dripped chocolate over… YUM… love your site.. looking for more camp ideas.. kid friendly!

    • beantownbaker — February 24th, 2013 @ 10:28 am

      Cupcakes definitely would be less messy for kids. I really like the portability of bars and brownies. I have tons of those on my blog too.

      Making cake balls with PB and chocolate on top sounds amazing!

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    Carmen — July 24, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Never had these before but look good! I might just use the whole cake and cut out rings with the cutter and fill them up in the whole cake then cover in choc. What if you put marshmallow filling? Do you think it would be to soft to cut into pieces of cake?

  23. #
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    Virginia — August 3, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    OMG Jen, just saw this recipe linked from HuffPo article! Sorry, can’t get the link on my phone. 🙁 Slide show on manufactured foods that taste better homemade.

    • beantownbaker — August 4th, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

      Thanks for letting me know! I found the post.

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    Trisha — August 26, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Amazing results. Rarely do I find the recipes that claim to be “just like” the original actually live up to those claims. This one did. LOVE.

    • beantownbaker — August 27th, 2013 @ 7:58 am

      So glad you enjoyed them!

  25. #
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    Jody — March 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    The recipe says to use filling same day. I need to make the cakes a day or 2 ahead of party. If I fill them right away, will they hold for a day or so in the refrigerator ? I don’ t want them to get soggy.

  26. #
    26
    Chaya — October 22, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Can these be frozen?

  27. #
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    Lynmarie — January 26, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Made these for a friend’s birthday party. Definitely time intensive…assembly took me forever. I made 16 cupcakes and 24 mini-cupcakes and had lots of extra cake batter. The cake is amazing, super moist and flavorful…but fally-aparty so hard to work with when dipping in ganache or spreading ganache over it. After I spent hours making these, they ended up smashed together in one side of the pan that I packed them in to the party. i would highly recommend transporting them in a cupcake tin or something where they will not move. The ganache never “dried” for me so mine were gooey on the outside too, and pretty much a mess to eat. Don’t get me wrong, they taste amazing and everyone enjoyed eating them…but if I was to do it over again, I would just use the ingredients to make a cake.

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    Kimberly Westervelt — March 31, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Do you have to use hot coffee? Can you just use plain hot water.

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    Colleen — May 7, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I don’t know what happened. I made Red Velvet “Fwinkies” (fake Twinkies), but covered them with chocolate so basically a hybrid or a Fwinkho. I have a delectovals pan. After piping in the 7-minute frosting, I dipped the bottoms in melted chocolate to seal and then covered the top in chocolate. The next day, I took them to a sorority luncheon as a treat. Well, the cream filling disappeared and I have to wonder did sealing the bottoms with the warm melted chocolate basically disintegrate the cream filling? I want to make something like this for a gender reveal next week, but I may have to change up the cream filling because I can’t leave the bottoms bare. Any advice?

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