Monday, July 31, 2006


This post receives the highest number of hits from Google. If you are here looking for an O'Henry Bar recipe, I suggest you read >> this post instead. Enjoy!

For as long as I can remember, there has been an "ancient" recipe in our family for this great dessert that has been dubbed "O'Henry" bars.

Growing up, my Mom or one of my four older sisters ... seemed to always be whipping up a batch of "O'Henry's".

Theoretically - O'Henry Bars are intended to be a "dessert" type of thing, kind of like a chocolate chip cookie. But my problem has always been that whenever there are O'Henry's around - I tend to eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Because of my inability to walk past a refrigerator that I know holds O'Henry bars - and the fact that my metabolism has slowed down to a crawl (or, perhaps it has to do with my inability to go to the gym and work off any extra calories I pack in) ... I don't make O'Henry's too frequently, anymore.

The one exception was during the time I was nursing. I was told that oatmeal helped to boost breastmilk supply ... so I ate a tray of O'Henry's a week. And then I have the audacity to be confused why my body proportions are way off. Go figure...

Since I've been married to Charlie, I have introduced him to the wonderful world of the O'Henry bar. Our children, however, have not yet been privvy to this ancient family treat.

Until today.

I am also sharing this ancient family recipe with all of you ... the 60 or so people** who read my blog every day. You can find the recipe at the bottom of the post.

Charlie appreciates this dessert, I just don't believe that he has the same obsession for O'Henry bars that I do. Nor ... does Charlie have the same obsession for O'Henry bars that our children apparently do.

Today was most definitely a day of firsts.

  • The kids had their first taste of O'Henry bars, which they absolutely LOVED.
  • The kids learned how to take off their shirts.
  • The girls wore the new nightgowns that Kathleen and Poppa Alex sent.
  • The kids learned how to take off their diapers. While in their crib.
  • I learned that O'Henry bars - containing oatmeal & Karo syrup which act as laxatives - are not the ideal food to serve a toddler. Who are wearing nightgowns. And can take off their diapers. While in their crib. When I'm out of the room.
My guess is that whoever coined the term "O'Henry Bar" ... was a young Mother. And the first time she served up this delicious snack to her toddler son, Henry ... was shortly before the first time he figured out how to remove his own diaper. Probably while in his crib. Probably while his young Mother was out of the room. Thus, prompting "OH HENRY!!!"

With time, the name of this dessert has taken on an Irish twist.

But trust me ... there's nothing "Irish" about these bars. Or if there is ... it isn't luck.

At least not for the person who discovers two toddlers with dirty diapers in their hands.


**I suspect that 55 of my 60 daily readers are family members and since you already have this recipe committed to memory (along with your name and my birthday) ... this is for my other five readers. Apparently, one of those five readers is Lynn Bartee. Is that right?! If so ... here's the "shout-out" I promised to Lorie. I hope you have a great day & enjoy your morning cup of java!

Jen's Ancient Family Recipe for O'Henry Bars:

1 stick butter

3/4 c. brown sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
4 c. oatmeal
3/4 c. Karo syrup

Mix above ingredients together. Spread in to ungreased cookie sheet (I find that dabbing my hands with water helps the "mashing" process). Cook in preheated oven (350) for 8-10 minutes or until bubbly. Don't overcook, or the bars will be too hard! Remove from oven and let cool.

In a sauce pan, melt ~1 c. of chocolate chips and ~1/2 c. of peanut butter - mix until smooth. (Taste to be sure that you have the peanut butter/chocolate ratio to your liking.) There should be enough of the mixture so that it sufficiently covers the bars when poured on. Pour the peanut butter/chocolate chip mixture over the top of the cooled bars.

Stick in the fridge until cooled, cut in to 2"x 2" squares and serve (with a BIG glass of milk!)


  1. I just stumbled across your blog, and I just felt like saying...OOOhhhhh!!! I`m one of three amazing trips myself you see. I just love reading about you and yours! It makes me understand better what my parents went through 25 years ago:)

  2. Yummy.....these sound quite dangerous but for the good of science I think that I better make a batch - just for experimental purposes you understand! DS is starting to undo his diaper sister said to just put them on backwards which we are close to trying.

  3. Wow, the recipe looks EASY!
    I will try them this weekend!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Linda (Chicago)

  4. ohhhhhhhhhhh i am soooooo gonna make those! thanks for the 5 pounds in advance, jen ;)
    -Reader #59, cam

  5. oh my....butter, brown sugar, karo syrup....sounds like HEAVEN. I'll definitely have to make them soon. Thanks for sharing.

    Again, you crack me up with your posts. I'm not looking forward to my kids doing the diaper-taking-off-thing. Jace has only done it once and thank goodness he didn't "take care of any business" in the crib. Too FUNNY!

  6. I am so going to try that recipe - it's got oatmeal so it's all in the spirit of increased supply, right?

    I love to read your blog. Your whole diaper removal story scares me - DH might stop helping with diapers when that happens:-)


  7. I grew up with these also, and they are delicious. I've never successfully made them myself (I always over-cook them), but I think that's a good thing. Otherwise I'd be eating them non-stop.

  8. Yummy! I will be making those... so much for being a "dwindling diva", but there is no way that I could turn down your generous offer of a family recipe!

    I am with Cam... thanks in advance for the 5 additional pounds that my body could stand to lose, let alone add to it! ;~)

  9. You are such an amazing writer. So funny and witty you should write a book. I find myself checking in on your blog daily to see what new adventures you and your little ones have had. Thanks for the laughs.

  10. I loved one of the recent recommendations you made: "Kite Runner." A sad, but good book.

    Now a dessert recommendation, what could be better???? Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.


  11. sounds so delish!! I will try it for sure, especially since it's not a monday and that means I'm not starting a new diet :)

  12. I normally never make treats like this for the family, as I eat it uncontrollably....LOL
    I have found an Aussie substitute for Karo ; Golden Syrup (sugar cane syrup, a thick treacle like goo)and wonder if you could give me an idea of how much an U.S.A. stick of butter weighs.

    I too love your blog and try to read it daily, I have put you in my links to favorites.

  13. O, no!
    Karo syrup has actually been perscribed by our pediatrician for constipation...definitely has laxative properties, as it appears you now know!
    Laughing with you...

  14. Wow, that looks so yummy. Not really going to help my weight loss efforts though. Maybe I'll try them as a treat when I hit my next goal.

  15. Your big siter made these last week and we had to give a half pan of them away before we ate them. So glad the babies liked them. Perhaps it is time to put on the Training pants?
    For more advise on training, give me a ring a ding.

  16. Thanks for the "shout out" courtesy of my daughter-in-law Lorie (aka "geologychick"). My day is not the same if I can't start by reading your blog. Your writing skills are unique, as is your family and your heart. For those of us old enough to remember, I just know that Erma Bombeck is sitting in her scribe's chair on high saying "you go girl". You're a gift to all who know you.
    Grandma Lynn

  17. wow! delish! I will definitely have to try this out - especially since I have an "Oh Henry" in my house.