April 15, 2014

Skinny Strawberry Oat Bars

Hi everyone!

It must be nearing strawberry season because we picked up the most juicy and amazing organic strawberries from a little fruit stand here in SD. I felt like I was taking a bite of summer with each strawberry.

I made two delicious recipes with them--the first are these healthified strawberry oat bars. They are protein packed, gluten free, with no refined sugar! I've eaten them for breakfast the past two days and I'm seriously full for hours from just one little square. They taste kind of like a gourmet Nutri-Grain bar.

Just boil 2 cups of finely minced strawberries with maple syrup, a tablespoon of coconut sugar, and throw in cornstarch at the end to thicken it. The crust is a mix of quick oats, peanut butter (or nut butter of choice), more maple syrup, cinnamon, apple sauce, and sliced almonds. Throw it all in the oven for 25-30 minutes on 325F and let cool before slicing. Great for breakfast or dessert.

Skinny Strawberry Oat Bars
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons warm water
2 cups finely diced strawberries
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tablespoon coconut sugar

2 and 1/4 cup quick oats (not whole rolled oats)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup peanut butter (or almond butter or sunflower seed butter)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 large egg, beaten (leave out or sub a flax egg for vegan)
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 325F and line an 8 x 8 pan with foil so that some hangs over the edge. This will help remove the bars from the pan.

Make the strawberry filling first. Mix the cornstarch with the warm water until it all of the cornstarch has dissolved and there are no more clumps. It should resemble milk. Set aside. Combine the strawberries, maple syrup, and sugar together in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir well. Remove from heat and stir in the pre-mixed cornstarch. Whisk until all clumps are gone and set aside to thicken and cool.

Make the oat crust/topping: In a large bowl, combine the quick oats, cinnamon, peanut butter, maple syrup, apple sauce, and beaten egg. Mix until all of the oats are moistened and the mixture is thoroughly combined. Reserve 3/4 cup of the oat mixture. Press the remaining oat mixture into prepared baking pan. Make sure it is firmly pressed down and even. Spread the cooled strawberry filling on top. To the reserved 3/4 cup oat mixture, add the sliced almonds. Crumble this over the strawberry filling and, using the back of a spatula, press the topping down firmly into the strawberry filling.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. The topping will be lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

This will make about 9 medium sized bars or 12 small bars. Can be stored room temperature in a sealed container for up to 5 days. Can also be frozen and thawed.

Enjoy! Look out for my second strawberry recipe soon! Hint: It's not baked. :-)

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