Anyone else addicted to a certain coffee shop — starts with ‘s’ and rhymes with trucks — oat bars? I love these treats and am convinced that they’re the healthiest choice to accompany a latte or three. Don’t try to tell me otherwise because I prefer to live in a state of happy ignorance about their nutritional value and calorie count.
In order to save money for things like real food that we eat at home and new rubber boots to track through mucky pony fields, I decided to make my own. There are 1001 recipes for oat bars online and this one is cobbled together using inspiration from those, a bit of common sense, and personal preferences.
Canada is the land of maple syrup so I like to use it to replace sugar whenever possible. Maple syrup ranges from light to dark and the colour and intensity of flavour is dependent on when the sap is harvested; the later it is in the season, the darker the syrup. The darker the syrup is, the stronger the flavour. We like amber syrup, which falls on the darker side of the spectrum. It has a noticeable maple flavour so keep that in mind when baking. For those who prefer a lighter taste while still using a healthy sweetener, stick to light or medium maple syrup.
Make a batch of oat bars in 15 minutes and you’ll have the perfect after school snack. To make them safe for school simply leave out the pistachios. We ran into a problem with ours because I let family and friends taste them, and then I had to taste them a few times, so my kids are out of luck come snack time today.
Start with yummy ingredients.
Mix them all up.
Press and chill. Easy.
Butter a 20cm x 28cm (8”x11”) casserole dish and set aside.
Using a food processor or coffee grinder (The single serve option on my Ninja blender is the perfect size to work with.), measure out 4 cups of finely ground rolled oats.
Chop or grind the pistachios so that you’re still left with small pieces.
Combine the rolled oats, pistachios, cinnamon, brown sugar, and cranberries in a large bowl.
Over low heat, using a shallow pan, melt butter and combine with vanilla and maple syrup. Allow this to come to a slow boil.
Once the mixture is boiling add the dry ingredients and mix well. A wooden spoon works best for this and won’t scratch the pan.
Remove from heat and scoop into the casserole dish. Press flat and refrigerate to cool and harden.
* Oat bars are gluten free and the butter can be replaced with coconut oil to make them dairy free too.
Need another delicious and school safe snack idea? Make a batch of these zucchini banana muffins.