These fabulous bars have a rich brown sugar and oatmeal flavor and are covered with melted chocolate and chopped walnuts. They’d make a wonderful holiday gift wrapped individually in plastic wrap and neatly arranged in a decorative tin.

MAKES 24 BARS

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Вѕ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup rolled oats (non-instant oatmeal)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or ВЅ cup whole wheat flour and ВЅ cup unbleached white flour)

1 cup finely chopped walnuts (not ground)

1ВЅ cups (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350В°F. Butter and flour a 12 x 2 x 7-inch pan or dish. (If it is glass, then preheat the oven to 325В°F.)
  2. In a large bowl beat together the butter, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the oats, flour, and half of the walnuts. Beat just until blended; do not overwork the dough. (You may have to do this step by hand.)
  4. With a rubber spatula or your fingers spread this mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 25 minutes, or until it is a rich golden color.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle on the chocolate chips. Return to the oven for 3 minutes, or until they are soft. With a spatula spread the chocolate evenly over the surface. Sprinkle on the remaining nuts and press them lightly into the surface.
  6. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then chill for 1 hour, or until the chocolate is firm but not hard. Cut into 24 bars and serve when the chocolate is hard. To store, wrap them in pairs in foil, or store in a tightly covered tin.