Improve Your Monday With Midwestern British Oat Bars

Improve Your Monday With Midwestern British Oat Bars

I’m going to take advantage of the fact that this is a Monday to re-post this gem.

Sadly Uncle Typewriter having been traumatized by the current political situation here in the US, has taken down her blog, Luckily, I stole  pinched... plagiarized made this recipe my own back in 2014, so I can share it again with you. I’ll be making these to bring to work later this week


We’ve all had one.  That fabulous weekend, chock full of exactly what you wanted, when you wanted it.  A steady, self-actualizing stream of happenstance, serendipity, and meet ups, with just the right amounts of food and drink and sleep.

And then it hits you.  The Monday.

Where you had been floating through your weekend in your carefree innertube, tropical drink in one hand, a book in the other – you now see the workweek stretching before you, a tractless desert of phone calls, emails, meetings, and bad coffee.

Well, here are two things that just might make your “case of the Mondays” a little better.

Last week, I had the good fortune to stumble upon a blog called Uncle Typewriter written by a woman in England. She is bright and writes with a deliciously flinty edge about life, and the weather and food, with a liberal sprinkling of what I can only imagine is London slang.  She has sent me running to Google, and Urban Dictionary more than once with words like jorts, Malteser bunny, and rasclaat. She takes and posts wonderfully textural closeups for each post, and she spells words like pajamas the ever-so-Brittish way – pyjamas. Read her, you will not be sorry!

I was especially taken with her post How To Eat Your Feelings, which included a recipe for Mars Oat Slices, the second thing guaranteed to improve your Monday.

Uncle Typewriter, attempting to salve her raw emotions, says: “I rummaged in my cupboards to see what I had lying around and then I put on Al Green and stood in the kitchen listening to Mr Green sing my life while I mixed sugar and oats and misery and hurt into a couple of batches of delicious, sadness-obliterating dessert bars. And when that was over, I sat in my bed eating these dessert bars with ice cream and puzzling over how to traverse the emotional hangover I would no doubt feel when this was all over. I also watched a lot of Criminal Minds and drank a lot of pear cider because why wouldn’t I?.”

Herewith, are the gifted Uncle Typewriter’s instructions for what we here in the Midwestern Upper Plains of North America would call “bars,” interspersed with my comments, and some translation when necessary:

To achieve just the right sugar/emotion, please collect the following ingredients:

  • Jumbo rolled oats (I used one cup but then Al Green’s Love and Happiness started playing and my hand might have slipped while I rocked rhythmically from side to side.)  **I feel like the Midwestern substitution for Al Green could be a carefully curated Leonard Cohen Pandora station where you get the right balance between Leonard himself, the young Cat Stevens, and Neil Young. Choose whatever causes you to rock rhythmically, as I feel that is a key ingredient for this recipe.**
  • Butter (butter is an excellent absorber of feelings.)  **Two sticks or 1 cup seems to be the North American equivalent**
  • Soft light brown sugar (copious amounts. And by “copious”, I mean about 5 tbsps.)
  • Plain flour (there is nothing I can say about this ingredient because it is ubiquitous and boring.) **I used 1 cup**
  • Double cream (around 60mls. **Somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 cup**  Although I used around 120 because I am a dairy rebel.) **According to my Google search, Heavy Cream would be the most easily accessible substitution for this, but after reading some people’s opinions, I wonder now what kind of swill we have been consuming here in the states!** 
  • Bicarbonate of soda (about ½ a tsp.)  **This is NOT to be confused with Pepto Bismol, or Tums, as something to soothe the stomach, rather this is what Britton’s call Baking Soda – which, BTW, can also be used in a pinch to soothe the stomach… but not in this instance.**
  • Salt (ditto.)
  • Mars bars (I used four regular-sized bars but feel free to increase or decrease the number you use but really, why would you choose lesschocolate? See how that doesn’t make sense?)  **Being a candy purist (i.e. no nuts) I used a whole bag of Fun Size Milky Way bars. It’s a judgement call, but hey, they’re made by the Mars Company, so it can be considered in the same candy family.**
  • Chocolate chips/chunks

To make these, you will need a deep, square baking tin (**8″ X 8″) that you will need to line with baking paper. I just want to go ahead and warn you that this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Baking paper comes in rolls and doesn’t like to stay where you put it so you must combine all the feelings you are already experiencing with mounting frustration that your cooking utensils do not wish to behave and that the world is against you. Turn up Al Green; it helps.

Preheat your oven to 180°C. I don’t know what that is in godforsaken Fahrenheit. Fine. Fine. I’ll Google it. It’s 356F. Good luck with that.  **The standard 350 degrees appears to have sufficed.**

In a bowl, combine your oats, your flour (around 125-150g, make sure you sift it), sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda and give it a quick mix. As you do this, release your angst into the mixture for added flavour. Once this is done, add your butter (around 140g cubed) and rub into the oats mixture until you get a crumbly dough -play “Judy” while you do this. Sway. **At this point, I had to give up using a wooden spoon to mix, in favor of my Kitchen Aid electric mixer. I did so all the while continuing to sway, and with a great respect for the pioneer women with arms of steel.**

Take half your dough mixture and press into the bottom of your baking tin and stick it in the oven for 15 minutes or so until the top is turning a delicious golden brown and your sadness is beginning to evaporate in the flapjack-scented air.

While this is baking, break or slice up 3 of your Mars Bars and combine with the double cream in a saucepan. **I would advise using a double boiler!** Stir this mixture along with any tears you may be shedding over a low heat until everything is melty and gorgeous and smooth. Set aside to cool. Chop up the remaining Mars Bar and put it in the freezer for later use. Play “What a Wonderful Thing Love Is” and luxuriate in the dulcet tones of Mr Green. **At this point you have probably been blessed with one, maybe two versions of “Hallelujah,” doubly blessed if one of them was the KD Lang version.**

Remove your baking tin from the oven and spread the frozen-ish chunks of Mars Bar around the flapjack. Sprinkle your chocolate chips/chunks liberally and pour on your cooled Mars Bar/cream mixture. Add heaping spoonfuls of your anxiety and taking the rest of your dough, press over the top of the chocolatey centre (this could get messy but that is a part of life and you will deal.)

Stick everything back in the oven for an additional 20 minutes or so making sure you rotate half way through. If the mood so strikes you, you may substitute Al Green for Teddy Pendergrass but DO NOT use Coldplay unless you wish to be depressed for the rest of your life.

Once the baking is done, allow to cool before transferring out of the pan and slicing into bars.

Consume with ice cream and truly, truly internalise your feelings by putting them in your belly.

You’re welcome.

Rest assured that after eating these, you, like Uncle Typewriter will feel better. 


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