baked oatmeal bars.

OH. YUM. I normally don’t swoon over such a simple recipe, but man, these granola bars are something special. I happen to be in the soft and chewy granola bar camp, and these definitely deliver! I hesitate to call them granola bars, as they almost seem to be more of a cake/bar hybrid, but regardless, they are portable, clean and totally delicious! I found the inspiration for this recipe over on oh she glows, and although she refers to these as “basic”, I’d counter they are anything but! It is imperative that you have a ripe banana for this recipe, but feel free to add in your favorite nuts, seeds, or even chocolate chips! These are perfect for a breakfast on the go, a mid-morning snack, or a healthy treat after dinner!

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I easily made this recipe gluten free and dairy free by using certified gluten free oats (these are from Trader Joe’s), coconut milk (feel free to use your favorite nut milk) and raw cacao powder. If you’re vegan, you can use agave or maple syrup instead of honey. The original recipe also calls for ground flax, which would be divine. I just didn’t have any. Next time!

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I forgot the banana in the above photo, so here he is! I normally despise bananas once they get ANY brown flecks on them, but admittedly they are perfection for baked goods recipes such as this.

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This is what they looked like after baking. The smell. Oh my gosh the smell was divine! You’ll also notice that I cooked the bars in about 2 yards of parchment paper in an 8 inch cake pan. I can’t for the life of me find my 8×8 inch baking dish (time to shop, yay!) so I cooked them in the cake pan with no problems.

I hope you guys love these — serve up with some fresh fruit, yogurt, or with your favorite jam or preserves! Great treat just in time for Mother’s Day, too!

baked oatmeal bars.
inspired by and adapted from oh she glows. 

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ingredients

2.5 cups rolled oats, divided
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1.5 cups unsweetened coconut milk (or other nut or non dairy milk)
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup or agave if vegan)
3 tbsp. nut or seed butter (I used Trader Joe’s crunchy peanut butter with chia and flax)
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 ripe banana, large dice
1 tbsp. vanilla or other sweetener (I was out of vanilla so I used coconut palm sugar)
1/2 tbsp. raw cacao powder (optional)

directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking dish or 8 inch cake pan with parchment paper, allowing paper to hang over the sides of the pan. Lightly spray with cooking spray or grease lightly with melted coconut oil. Set aside.

In a food processor or blender, process one cup of oats into a fine powder (oat flour). In a large bowl, mix together oat flour, rolled oats, chia seeds, baking powder, cinnamon, sea salt, coconut and raw cacao powder (if using). Mix together to combine. **Note: If you are using sugar instead of vanilla, add that in at this step.

In a smaller bowl, mix together coconut milk, honey, nut butter, banana and vanilla (if using). Whisk together until peanut butter breaks down and combines with other ingredients. Should still have small chunks of banana present. Add wet to dry and mix together until combined. If you are adding chocolate chips, nuts or fruit, add them now.

Pour mixture into lined baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, checking after 30 minutes. Test by lightly pressing the middle of the oatmeal bars; if they give lightly and spring right back, they are ready.

Let cool in the pan for at least ten minutes and then transfer to cooling rack to let cool completely (if you can!). They will firm up as they cool. Yields 9 large bars (crazily shaped ones if you use a round pan). Enjoy!

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