We've all been there. We're in the snack aisle looking for something healthy, yet inspiring. The sugar content is shocking, the excessive packaging makes it seem like we're getting more food than we really are, and the prices are getting harder to justify.
I've got you, friend. I take snacks seriously. My 7-year-old blows into the house after school ravenous, and personally, I like to maintain a nice desk stash for late afternoon hunger. I've decided to make my own oat bars, because let's be honest: Even the most organic and most expensive brands are, well...kind of bland.
This recipe is superior to others because the ingredients are things you already have at home. You can mix and match the flours and proteins. You can play with add-ins. Baking is often a strict science, but you can play around with this one, and the outcome will always be tasty. The only difference will be the texture.
These buttery oat bars taste better and cost less than store-bought, and the recipe is simple. Let's get to it!
Homemade Oat Bar Recipe
What you'll need:
- 2 cups oats
- 2 cups of flour or mix with alternative flour, such as almond flour or coconut flour
- Note: If you wish to go gluten-free and use 100% alternative flours, go for it. Textures may vary.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 sticks of salted butter (or 16 tbsp) melted
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1.5 cups of jam or preserves (preferably a little tart) - I used sour cherry
- 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- Note: If you have coconut extract, you can use one teaspoon of this to replace one teaspoon of vanilla, or do half-and-half
- Extra toppings - Note: I used coconut flakes and candied walnuts. Other options include chia seeds, peanuts, flax seeds, pecans and almonds.
What do do:
- Preheat your oven to 350
- Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper
- Use a mixer to combine brown sugar, melted butter and vanilla
- In a separate bowl, mix oats, flour and salt
- Once mixed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the spinning mixer
- Use a spatula to push down the sticky sides, as the dough will build up along the walls of the bowl
- Stop mixer, take out a little more than half of the dough, and press into a thin, flat layer on the parchment paper (pictured above)
- Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven.
- Lay on the tart jam or preserves in an even layer, spreading with the bottom of a spoon
- Take the remaining dough, and sprinkle it on top. It won't cover the preserves or jam completely, and that is fine
- Take your extra toppings and fill in the gaps in an even layer. I used candied walnuts and shredded coconut.
- Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the dough on top is brown and crispy.
- Remove from oven. If cut warm, it will be crumbly. Store in refrigerator to cool off and cut clean lines.
You can leave unrefrigerated, but I like to keep mine refrigerated. Not only do they last longer, but they retain their shape better, as they are naturally gooey and delicious. You can wrap them in wax paper to go.
You can load these treats with heathy proteins to give them more substance, dried fruit to give them more sweetness, and play around with what you have in the house already. Any combination will beat the snack aisle fare, and once you make a better snack, you never go back!