Pears have never been my favorite fruit. 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 a few years ago I made and canned 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 flavor and the spices in the pear butter were king.
Since making the pear butter I’ve tried my hand at several other dishes using pears and I’ve liked them all. I’m pretty sure that part of the reason is that I only ever had the boring old green pears but now I’ve branched out and have tried so many different varieties.
Last week I bought several pears at the market because they were on sale and I had a box of produce delivered to me that had 5 huge Butterscotch Pears in it. I ate several pears for lunch during the week but by the weekend I still had quite a few left. I wanted to make a dessert and when I saw these oatmeal cookie pear bars I knew I had a winner.
To make these cookie bars you will need:
- baking soda
- brown sugar
- evaporated milk
There are three parts to these Oatmeal Cookie Pear Bars. The top of the bottom are made from the same ingredients but turn out different after they are baked. The oatmeal cookie mixture is made with a base of brown butter which gives it a rich and almost nutty flavor.
The bottom cookie layer is baked and then the pear slices are layered on top. Next a hot, homemade caramel sauce is poured over top of the pears. I added sea salt to mine because salted caramel is the best. Finally the leftover cookie dough is crumbled over the top and the bars are baking until golden brown.
These cookies are super buttery with a delicious and refreshing flavor from the pears and a sweetness from the caramel. They are a fabulous combination of oatmeal cookie, pears, and caramel. I could probably eat the entire pan myself but I was nice and shared! These are totally a magical holiday treat!
Pro Tips and Substitutions:
- If you don’t like or have pears you can totally use apples in place on them in this recipe.
- While the recipe calls for evaporated milk you can use whole milk instead. You will need to boil the mixture for 3-5 minutes to thicken instead of 1-2 minutes.
- When making the caramel know that before the mixture boils it may look curdled. After boiling for a minute it should thicken up and should no longer look curdled.
For the cookie:
- 1/2 c. ( 1 stick) butter
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 c. flour
- 1 c. oats
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 egg
For the Filling:
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 large pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 11 x 7 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- 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.
- Meanwhile, combine the sugar, flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl.
- Stir the browned butter into the flour mixture. Add in the egg and mix well.
- Press all but 1 cup of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter for the filling 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 for one minute. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla and sea salt if desired.
- 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.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the topping is golden. Cool on a wire rack and then cut into bars.
- Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
Recipe adapted from Tutti Dolci
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 141Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 135mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 2gSugar: 16gProtein: 2g