Cookie bars fit for hungry fishermen

Laurie Olsen makes these decadent bars for her fisherman husband and crew aboard the St. John II.

Food forum

While I was reporting for Sea to Table, our story about a fourth-generation fishing family in Snohomish, I tried the most divine cookie bars.

Let me back up: Laurie Olsen, the wife of skipper Gary Olsen and owner of You Are What You Eat Fish Company, makes a ton of desserts for the crew aboard the St. John II. It’s nice to have a sweet bite of home when you’re pulling thousands of halibut, black cod and other fish from the waters around the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

“Back when I lived in Alaska the fishermen would ask me to make these bars for them before they went out fishing,” Laurie wrote to me. “They tried to convince me they were good luck.”

Her oatmeal carmelitas are layered with chocolate chips, pecan, caramel and a brown sugar oatmeal crumble.

“I have made huge batches of this recipe,” Laurie wrote. “Wherever I bring these bars, everyone asks for the recipe.”

Boy are we in luck, because we have secured Laurie’s recipe. Make this for your next fishing trip, potluck or cozy night inside.

Oatmeal Carmelitas

1 cup flour

1 cup oatmeal

¾ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup butter melted

1 cup chocolate chips

½ cup chopped pecans (optional)

¾ cup caramel ice cream topping

3 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and melted butter. Mix to form crumbs.

Press half the crumb mixture into the bottom of 8 x 8-inch pan.

Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans (if using).

Combine caramel with 3 tablespoons of flour, then pour mix over chocolate evenly, in a back-and-forth motion.

Sprinkle with remaining crumbs, return to oven, then bake 15 to 20 minutes more until golden brown.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours then cut into bars.

These bars can be made in advance and stored immediately in the freezer.

Help keep The Forum going by sending your favorite recipes to Taylor Goebel at

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