So, I wanted to make an oatmeal bar of some kind. I thought it would be the perfect thing to add to my lunch bag at work to give me that little fill me up. So I started searching for recipes and couldn’t find one that I was really jiving with. I wanted to make a blueberry bar, but everything with blueberries had you making a cornstarch and sugar reduction with the blueberries to turn them more into a jam consistency. I didn’t want to do that, I just wanted natural blueberry goodness. I also didn’t want to use a lot of sugar, or butter, or white flour (which I was finding in all the recipes I looked for). I wanted this to be a healthy snack, or even a busy grab and go breakfast! So I set out to create my own …. please remember, I am the proud ‘attempt-to-bake-but-epic-fail-every-time’ type.
Somehow, things just happened to work out on these babies. I swapped butter for peanut butter, sugar for honey, and white flour for white whole wheat (with the addition of baking powder to make up for the denser flour) and oats. I didn’t attempt to reduce down my berries, I just threw them in whole (and frozen) I was worried I would open the oven to a juiced up berry disaster and soggier-than-sin bars but somehow, they weren’t!!! I was shocked. I used raspberries because my research on blueberry bars left me terrified they would juice all over the place and make another classic baking epic fail. Then I got confident, and tried blueberries on my second round of these bad boys. And let me tell you …. it wasn’t a disaster it actually turned out delicious!!!
When my official taste tester/hubby tried these bars I was terrified they would be totally disgusting (since that is generally how things go when I attempt to bake) I mean, did you ever see my carrot cake, USA on my Instagram account? Things can get weird. But, to my surprise he really liked them!!! Phew!! And I really liked them! They were actually really delicious. And filling! His only suggestion was to add a nut of some kind for some crunch! Not a problem, on the second batch, I added some pecans. That really made these awesome. This is what the bars look like before you toss them in the oven. The dough is thick, so you need to sort of press it into the pan with either your fingers or a spoon.
I kept these bars in the fridge and we had them in there about a week before we gobbled them all up. The raspberries by the last two days were starting to get a little mushy, so I would recommend eating them within four or five days for maximum flavor. Don’t worry, it shouldn’t be a hard thing to do, they are pretty addicting.
The other bonus of this recipe is you only dirty one bowl, your mixing bowl! The baking pan you line with parchment paper, so it is squeaky clean when you take out the bars! Win!! This is a really simple recipe, mix it all up in a bowl, press it into the baking pan, bake it, let it cool, cut and enjoy!
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup oats
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- ½ tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
- 1 cup berries (I've done it with blueberries and raspberries)
- ½ cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 by 11 baking pan (or similar size) with parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer, beat the honey, peanut butter, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
- Add the dry ingredients (oats, flour, baking powder, and chia seeds) Mix until smooth. It will be a very thick batter.
- Press batter into the parchment lined baking pan.
- Sprinkle berries on top of batter.
- Sprinkle chopped nuts on top of berries.
- Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.
- Let cool completely before removing and cutting.
- Store in the refrigerator.