Maple O. Henry bars
Old-school chewy chocolate bars sweetened with earthy maple syrup and a chocolaty peanut butter topping.
I brought these bars to a dinner party recently, and they were gone before I could begin to explain the name. For those of you not too busy wolfing ‘em down to listen, O. Henry was a popular candy bar created in the early 1900s made of creamy caramel, peanuts, fudge and chocolate.
Although theories abound as to where the O. Henry Bar recipe originated, I trace its earliest roots to Detroit in the '70s. Growing up in Motown, I looked for these treats at just about every bridal shower, engagement party and holiday dinner I attended, and was rarely disappointed.
Now that I’m producing my own O. Henry bars, I made one slight change to the traditional list of ingredients – corn syrup out, maple syrup in. The maple syrup adds an earthy flavor to the chewy oat base, and gives it that slight wholesome edge over your typical high-fructose-corn-syrup-sweetened candy bar.
Using fresh maple syrup from my brother’s farm doesn’t hurt, either.
- 2/3 cup Earth Balance or butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups quick cooking oats
- 6 ounces chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside, or line a deep brownie pan with parchment paper.
With an electric mixer, beat Earth Balance and brown sugar. Add maple syrup, vanilla and oats and beat until fully combined.
Press oat mixture into pan, and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle the top with chocolate chips while hot.
Allow chips to melt from the heat, and then add peanut butter in small mounds and spread that into the chocolate. Smooth top, and then allow to cool before cutting into squares.