Revel bars are bar cookies consisting chocolate fudge sandwiched between crumbly oatmeal cookie layers. While some revel bars tend to be too soft and anemic, this recipe yields hefty, chunky bars worthy of a café dessert display.
Browning the butter seems like extra work, but pays off with nutty butterscotch notes in the oatmeal cookie layer. Whole rolled oats provide a toothsome, crumbly texture—don't settle for the instant stuff. Use the best dark chocolate you can find for the fudge. A dash of instant coffee tames the sweetness from the condensed milk, resulting in a bittersweet, almost dark-mocha dimension. These fudgy, not-too-sweet bars bake easily and quickly, making them perfect for a last-minute gift or potluck contribution.
Oatmeal Cookie Dough
- 1 ½ block unsalted butter, cubed
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp iodized salt
- 1 ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 can (400g) condensed milk
- 1 ½ cup chopped dark chocolate
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp instant coffee powder
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9x13" pan with parchment paper. Use two pans for thinner bars.
Brown the butter: Melt cubed butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
Whisk the butter occasionally, watching the butter bubble and change color. It will turn from a bright yellow to a golden tan to a deep golden brown, and smell intensely buttery and nutty, 5–10 minutes. The white solids in the butter will brown and settle at the bottom of the pan—this means your butter is browning properly.
Remove from heat and transfer the melted butter and browned milk solids to a heatproof bowl. Let cool before using.
Make the oatmeal cookie layer: Combine rolled oats, flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk to mix and set aside.
Combine brown and white sugars in another bowl. Add browned butter and mix until smooth and well combined. Whisk in one egg at a time, followed by the vanilla extract.
Add oats mixture into the sugar, mixing on low speed until the flour is almost incorporated.
Make the chocolate fudge: Pour condensed milk into a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until warm. Stir in chopped chocolate, cooking until melted. Add butter, salt, vanilla, and instant coffee. Stir until smooth and well mixed, then remove from heat.
Assemble the bars: Take half (or a fourth if making 2 batches) of the oatmeal cookie dough and spread it out into the prepared pan. Press the dough down with your fingertips until you have an even, compact layer. Use more cookie dough if you'd like a thicker base; less for thinner bars.
Pour the chocolate fudge over the oatmeal layer. If it seems too unevenly distributed, spread it out with a spatula or the back of a spoon—it doesn't need to be smooth.
Break off pieces of the reserved oatmeal cookie dough and scatter them randomly over the chocolate. Press the dough very gently on top.
Bake for 12–15 minutes in the preheated oven or until the topping looks dry and golden brown. The fudge layer will look wet out of the oven. Let cool completely in the pan, about 1–2 hours. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill overnight and firm up the fudge. Slice into 12 pieces per pan.
Rolled oats add more texture than instant oats.
For the dark chocolate, we suggest using Beryl's or Van Houten compound dark chocolate. The fudge will be less sweet if using bittersweet chocolates or tablea.
Chocolate chips will work in place of chopped chocolate. We recommend Nestle or Ghiradelli, but any brand will work perfectly.
Instant black coffee amplifies the chocolate flavor in your fudge. Espresso powder works just as well. Don't use 3-in-1 coffee powder!
Brands used: Emborg unsalted butter, Quaker whole rolled oats, Alaska condensed milk, Nescafé instant black coffee.