Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oatmeal Bars

Finally, a dessert recipe! I might be an anomaly since previously I was only posting healthy recipes during the holidays. This recipe is "healthy" in small doses. I confess, the name of this recipe is not very catchy. "Oatmeal" doesn't always inspire awe, and "bar" is, well, blah. But in this post, ladies and gentlemen, you get not one, but two variations of oatmeal bars! I give you Apricot White Chocolate Bar Cookies and Pumpkin Cranberry Bar Cookies. That has a nice ring, yes?

I was searching for a good bar cookie that uses oats, mainly because I thought it would be a nice alternative to using nuts. What, no nuts? I tend to put nuts in everything. The story behind not using nuts in this recipe is that Justin is a middle school teacher, and one of his tactics for keeping students motivated is by grouping them into teams every week. The team with the best behavior for that week gets a home-baked something from me (sometimes him). I never add nuts in case of allergies.

It's a good thing I was not allowed to use nuts, because I don't think I would have put together these delicious, awe-inspiring oatmeal bars otherwise. First I thought of making white chocolate butterscotch bars, but the grocery store I went to didn't carry butterscotch without high fructose corn syrup in it. I noticed the dried apricots and was inspired. For the pumpkin version, I had been wanting to make a pumpkin-cranberry-chocolate something for awhile, so that was already on my mind.

I adapted Martha Stewart's Chewy Oatmeal Blondie recipe. She creates a baking mix that can be used for this recipe and a couple others. I downsized the baking mix so you can make just one batch of each, but if you think you'll make these on a regular basis, you can find her baking mix recipe here.

Apricot White Chocolate Bar Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe for Chewy Oatmeal Blondies
Serves 16

1 cup whole wheat flour (can substitute half oat flour, or half white flour)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
Mix together in a large bowl. Set aside.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
Beat together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

1 large egg
Add and beat until combined. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup old-fashioned oats
Fold in 3/4 cup of oats, dried apricots, and white chocolate chips. Pour batter into buttered 8-inch square pan and smooth batter evenly. Sprinkle remaining oats on top. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Let cool in pan. Store in airtight container for up to two days, or freeze for up to two months.


Pumpkin Cranberry Bar Cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe for Chewy Oatmeal Blondies
Serves 16

1 cup whole wheat flour (can substitute half oat flour, or half white flour)
1/4 cup oat flour (blend whole oats in a blender)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon ginger
Mix together in a large bowl. Set aside.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
Beat together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

1 large egg
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
Add and beat until combined. Gradually add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup chocolate chips (can use half or all white chocolate)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
Fold in 3/4 cup of oats and remaining ingredients. Pour batter into buttered 8-inch square pan and smooth batter evenly. Sprinkle remaining oats on top. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Let cool in pan. Store in airtight container for up to two days, or freeze for up to two months.

Do you have a favorite nut-free dessert, muffin, or baked good recipe? Do tell, I'd love to add it to my middle school recipe lineup.

2 comments:

Scott said...

They look great! And I like the picture!

Amanda said...

I agree, nothing is inspiring about the name "Oatmeal Bars", but they look very tasty. That's what matter to me. :)

Thanks for the post!
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