Recipe: Very Berry Oat Bars (GF,V)

Confession: I’m a happy, healthy gal with a major sweet tooth. Brownies, cupcakes, and pies – you bake it, I like it. More often than I’d like to admit, former me could be found in the aisles of the corner bodega, picking up a freshly processed pack of TastyKakes. Turns out refined sugar and crazy chemical additives were not benefiting my bod – like, at all.

Since adjusting my eating habits, I’ve found that my cravings can be managed with naturally sweet ingredients that align with my lifestyle (think maple syrup, honey, cacao, fresh fruit and even protein powder). When it comes to experimenting in the kitchen, I opt for gluten free, no-sugar added recipes that fit into one of my favorite molds – muffin or donut, anyone? Check out my blog on Craving Compromises for even more sweet treats 🙂

And so this Very Berry Oat Bar recipe was born. The love child of a few different Pinterest finds, sweet berry-chia jam and a golden oat crust are a mix n’ match made in heaven. Gluten free, vegan, and no-sugar added, these chewy berry bars will have that sweet tooth singing hallelujah!

img_3538

Very Berry Oat Bar (yields 10-12 bars)

Ingredients

Berry Chia Jam:

  • 16 oz. frozen berries (I opted for a mixed blend of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries)
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (hello, nutritional powerhouse!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

ingredients-berryjam

Oat Crust:

  • 3 cups GF rolled oats (divided)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

ingredients-crust

 

Directions

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9 x 12 baking dish with aluminum foil and spray generously with your favorite cooking oil. Set aside and prepare jam and crush while oven preheats.

Berry Chia Jam:

  1. Combine frozen fruit and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix gently with a wooden spoon. Heat until berries begin to release liquid. Bring berry mixture to a boil until berries begin to break down and thicken, about 10 minutes. (If you’re using a mixed blend, break down time will vary depending on berry. Use your wooden spoon to gently assist stubborn blueberries.)
  2. Stir in the chia seeds and vanilla extract and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool until desired consistency is reached. Jam will continue to thicken the longer it sits.

Crust:

  1. Place 1 ½ cups of GF oats in a food processor (or nutribullet, or blender!) and process until reaching a flour consistency. Set aside.
  2. Completely mash bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add maple syrup and vanilla extract and combine fully.
  3. In a separate bowl combine 1 ½ cups processed oats, 1 ½ cup rolled oats, and baking powder. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Transfer dry mixture into large mixing bowl with mashed banana and mix until a dough is formed.

 

Bars:

  1. Spread 2/3 of the crust mixture onto foil-lined baking dish. Use your fingers to press and shape the dough, forming a tightly packed rectangular base.
  2. Layer the berry chia jam on to the crust, using a spoon to spread evenly. Be sure to leave some room around the edges to prevent jam from burning.
  3. Separate the remaining crust mixture into smaller portions, rolling into balls and flattening with your hands. Place patches of crust mixture on top of the jam until an even top layer is formed. Pinch patches together with fingers for a more seamless crust. Don’t be afraid to let that jam peek through!
  4. Bake for 30 minutes until crust turns golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool completely before transferring to cutting board and dividing evenly into bars.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s