I never really liked pears. I used to think that they were a softer version of the apple and that they had less flavor. For years I turned my nose up any time a pear was in the vicinity. Then last year I made a few jars of pear butter on a whim. It was instant love. I had always been particularly fond of apple butter but after making the pear butter there was no contest; the pear butter had a much better flavor.
Since making the pear butter I’ve tried my hand at several other dishes using pears. I’ve liked them all. Last week I bought several pears at the market because they were on sale. I ate several for lunch during the week but here it is Saturday and there were still 3 pears left. I wanted to make a dessert and when I saw these oatmeal cookie pear bars I knew I had a winner.
The base is a brown butter oatmeal cookie. It’s then layered with fresh pear slices and hot caramel sauce is poured over top of the pears. Then the leftover brown butter oatmeal cookie dough is spread over top of the entire bar. It’s sweet, slightly nutty from the browned butter, and has the delicious and refreshing flavor of pears. It’s a magical holiday treat!
Oatmeal Cookie Pear Bars (adapted from Tutti Dolce)
For the cookie:
5 T. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 c. oats
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ginger
1/4 c. applesauce
1 T. butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
3 T. evaporated milk
1 t. vanilla
2 large pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11 x 7 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Heat the butter for the cookie in a skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally until it begins to turn a deep brown color, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a large mixing bowl.
4. Stir the browned butter into the flour mixture. Add in the egg and mix well. Stir in the applesauce and mix until the dough just begins to hold together.
5. Press all but 1 cup of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet. When it starts to brown add in the brown sugar and stir until it is almost dissolved. Add in the evaporated milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla.
7. Arrange the pear slices over top of the baked cookie crust. Pour the hot brown sugar caramel over top of the pear slices. Scatter the remaining dough over top of the pears.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the topping is golden. Cool on a wire rack and then cut into bars.
9. Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.