Crispy almond oat chocolate chip bars (gluten free!)

Almond oat chocolate chip bars

Almond oat chocolate chip bars

Isaac is deeply suspicious of anything remotely romantic. He’s not all that scared of Voldemort, but if any of the tiny larval wizards come close to kissing each other, he runs into the the other room, hands over his eyes. So when he uses the word “lover,” he’s talking about somebody that loves things. Clio, for instance, is a big lover. She loves everyone she meets, food, walks, all dogs, food, treats, warm radiators, picking the boys up from school, food. Children, of course, are natural lovers, they’re bubbling over with love, until somebody tells them that it’s just not cool, man, and they learn to be detached and insouciant. I’ve never learned that lesson, I’m afraid, so I’m still a lover. Here’s a fun thing to do when you can’t sleep: without over-thinking, list ten things that you love (aside from your family, of course!). It puts you in a good frame of mind, and wards off the whispering worries. Alright, here’s mine. Ready? Begin! Otters; Tintin; long, complicated novels; sunshine on a cold day, shade on a warm day; Skip Jmes; Nina Simone; a pat on the back; chard; pictures of windows; films with lots of watery green in them. Is that it? Is that ten? You know, I probably could have said food, walks, all dogs, food, picking up the boys from school, warm radiators… Heh heh!! Come on, everybody, try it, it’s fun! What? You think it’s dorky? OMG! Don’t be such a hater!

Guess who loved these cookies? Everybody! In the whole wide world! Well, everybody in my world! Malcolm was all, like, I’m not even going to try them, and I was all, like, whatever, I don’t even care if you try my cookies. So he tried one? And he ate, like, four of them? And I was all…you better slow down, and he was all, what? They’re healthy! Which, you could pretend that they are, because they have oats and almonds, but you’d be lying to yourself about all of that butter and sugar. My English friends will recognize that these are a lot like flapjacks, but my American friends would be confused if I called them that, and say, “Those are totally not like pancakes, man.” (As Americans do.) One thing you should know about these cookies is that they’re ridiculously easy to make. You mix them all together in a saucepan and then spread them on a tray and bake them, and that’s pretty much it!

Here’s Nina Simone with Music for Lovers. It’s a little schmaltzy, but oddly fitting for this post, and Nina Simone is so cool that she can get away with it. Or so I think.

1 stick salted butter (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
2 t vanilla
2 cups oats
1 cup sliced almonds, slightly crushed (I squeezed them in my hands!)
1 cup chocolate chips
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and golden syrup and remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla. Pour in the oats and almonds and stir until everything is well coated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Butter a large baking sheet with edges, and press the oat mixture in a single layer on the sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes, till the whole thing is bubbling, and the edges are starting to brown. If the edges cook too quickly, shut the oven off, but leave the tray in the oven.

Remove the tray from the oven, let cool about five minutes. Score with a pizza cutter or sharp knife, and return to the warm oven for about five or ten minutes.

Remove, and let cool completely.

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