Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars

 Oatmeal Raisin Cookie 1Oatmeal raisin cookies are at the top of the all time favorite cookie list. In fact, in recent surveys of home made cookie favorites, the chocolate chip cookie was first, peanut butter second and oatmeal raisin third.

I would agree that chocolate chip is my favorite, but I’m at a loss to pick a clear second or third place … peanut butter and oatmeal raisin are tied at second place.

My husband is definitely a peanut butter cookie fan, and when I make a batch of those, I just plan on leaving the eating to him!

At least when I make oatmeal raisin cookies, I have a chance of eating some of them!

I’ve found that bar cookies last just a little longer than cookies made in the traditional “drop” manner. They’re also easier to bake, since it’s just one trip through the oven for the pan full! 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 24 bars

Serving Size: 1 bar

Calories per serving: 65

Fat per serving: 2

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars


  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup raisins


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large sized mixing bowl, mix together the butter, eggs, vanilla, white sugar and brown sugar.
  • In a separate, medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and oatmeal.
  • Add the raisins to the dry ingredients and mix to coat.
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture a little bit at a time, mixing well between additions.
  • Scrape the batter into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
  • Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
  • Cookies are done when a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean.


Approximate Nutrition Information: Servings Per Recipe: 24, Amount Per Serving: Calories: 65, Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Sodium: 81g, Total Carbs: 10g, Protein: 1g.

Make it a Meal: Serve for breakfast with coffee and milk!

Variations: Add some white chocolate chips, chopped walnuts or some dried cranberries to change up the flavor of these delicious cookies.


How to Make Bar Cookies

Making bar cookies or cookie bars is almost too simple to spend much time explaining. The greatest thing about bar cookies is the time and energy savings – you only need a single pan and your oven only heats for a single round.

You save time by not scooping all those spoonfuls of dough and dropping them onto cool cookie sheets. (Does anybody really wait for a cookie sheet to cool between batches?!)

I like being able to put a pan in the oven, setting a timer and walking away to do one of the other waiting household chores. You really can’t do that with batches of drop cookies – or at least, I can’t. I always end up with that one batch of hockey puck style cookies – blackened and rock hard.

When the cookies are burnt to the blackened state, you can’t even get away with calling them “Biscotti”.

If you can bake a pan of brownies, you can bake bar cookies. Start with your favorite basic cookie recipe, mix the dough and when you’re ready to bake, simply spread it into a baking dish. Bake for about thirty minutes, as you would brownies.

 Oatmeal Raisin Cookie 2

Cookies for Breakfast

Another great reason for making oatmeal raisin cookies in a bar shape, is so that you can eat them for breakfast and not feel guilty!

I mean, a cookie bar looks awfully much like a granola bar, or even a muffin. Everybody knows those are breakfast foods!

And let’s face it, something that contains oatmeal and raisins has to be healthy, right?!

But seriously, if you want to really make this recipe into a breakfast treat, add some chopped nuts (about a cup full) and sprinkle them over the batter prior to baking. Another variation would be to mix in a cup of dried cranberries or blueberries along side the raisins to increase the fiber content.


Cornmeal Mush

Cornmeal Mush 1Fried cornmeal mush is a Southern dish that is nearly as old as time itself. The flavor is slightly sweet and the texture is creamy.

You can top it with butter and syrup. You can eat it plain. You can melt cheese into it. This dish can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

It seems that folks either are fans of this dish, or they’re not. I haven’t found much middle ground – people who say, “Oh it’s all right, I eat it some times.” What I’ve found is that people love cornmeal mush or they dislike it. They eat it often or never. Interesting how a food can be so polarizing, isn’t it?

What is Cornmeal?

The first part of the discussion always begins with a definition of cornmeal. That should be simple enough, one would think. However, there is lots of room for discussion on what consists of a proper cornmeal.

Basically, cornmeal is ground corn. I know, simple, right?

The debate starts with the type of corn that is ground – yellow, white, blue, red or a combination. Fans of Southern style cooking typically prefer white cornmeal. I’ve discovered that yellow cornmeal is preferred in New England states and the Midwest. Or, maybe that’s just my family’s preference and so I assume it holds true for the entire regions! 

Then there is the whole conversation about grinding – stone ground vs. steel cut, finely ground vs. coarsely ground. I suppose the texture you select will be determined by the recipe you want to make.  Grits, for example are best made from a coarse ground corn. Muffins are better when made from a finely ground cornmeal. And you can imagine there is a whole spectrum in between.

I like to use packaged mixes when making muffins – those usually have wheat flour and baking soda or other leavening agents mixed in pre-proportioned amounts. That makes my baking job a lot simpler since all I need to add are the wet ingredients.

But when I make Indian Pudding, Boston Brown Bread or cornmeal mush, I use a straight up plain old fashioned corn meal. Depending on what my store has in stock, I’ve used Indian Head Cornmeal, Bob’s Red Mill, Martha White’s and Quaker brands. I’ve had success with all of the brands. This column is not an endorsement for any particular brand and I recommend you find one that you like based on your lifestyle.

Is cornmeal gluten free? If you are considering a gluten free diet, I suggest you do some research on this matter. I am not a gluten free expert or a certified nutritionist – but it seems that corn in most cases is a gluten free product based on my preliminary research.

Cornmeal Mush

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 8 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per serving: 132

Fat per serving: 2

Cornmeal Mush


  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1 tsp salt


  • In a small bowl, mix the cold water, cornmeal and sugar. Set the bowl aside so the corn can absorb the water.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the hot water and salt to a boil. Turn the heat to medium. Add the corn mixture, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
  • Allow to cook for about 3 minutes, then transfer the corn mixture into a greased loaf pan. Set on a cooling rack on the counter and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, transfer to refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight.
  • Slice the cooled mush into 1 inch slices and fry in hot oil in your cast iron skillet.


Approximate Nutritional Information: Servings Per Recipe: 6, Amount Per Serving: Calories: 132, Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 23g, Total Carbs: 29g, Protein: 5g.

Make It a Meal: Serve with a bit of butter and maple syrup beside your eggs.

Variations: Mix in some shredded cheddar cheese or some taco seasoning for a bit of kick.


What is Polenta?

Polenta is another name for cornmeal mush. What? you may ask! Yes, yes, yes it is. I’m sorry to break the news to you, but this wonderful dish was too good to be known by just a single name. Or at least, that’s my way of thinking!

Polenta is the Italian name for cornmeal that has been boiled into a porridge, cooled, sliced and fried. (Sound familiar?) The Italians serve their dish made from the yellow cornmeal and topped with sauces or even grilled meats.

In fact, you may often find polenta served in similar ways to mashed potatoes, rice or pasta.

If your family seems skeptical of a dish named “mush” then perhaps you’ll want to serve them “polenta”. I know my kids developed a dislike of Brussels sprouts when they were in elementary school. They sure did love the “mon petit choux”, however. The name has a way of making the food more appealing! A loose translation of the French name is “my little cabbage head”.

Having shared that story, you know I’m not above serving a menu item with a fancy sounding name and good old fashioned taste!

I think it is quite interesting that a peasant food from northern Italy began in the Americas and traveled over the seas in the 1400s. Then again, the tomato, which has also become synonymous with Italian cooking made that same journey. Apparently the Italians are masters at incorporating new foods into their cuisine. I sure don’t mind!