Wheatless Wednesday – Oat Nut Bars


Oat Nut Bars

WARNING – HIGHLY ADDICTIVE!  I am often looking around the kitchen for something quick to eat with my morning coffee without making a whole production.  Most  convenience foods are not very good for you, even if the packaging tells you otherwise.  So when I saw this recipe in Bon Appetite (January, 2014) I thought it could be just the thing.  Boy was I right (or wrong)!  These are so delicious that its hard to eat just one.  Luckily, they are loaded with nutrition.  They are made with 100% whole grains, seeds and nuts which means the bran and the germ are left intact which is where most of the nutrients are. I used whole almonds, sesame seeds and added coconut flakes, since I love all things coconut, and really like the result.  I would also recommend having coconut oil in your pantry as one of the ‘good’ oils with many health benefits.  The maple syrup, even though it’s natural, is mostly sugar, but unlike white sugar it is also a very good source of zinc and Manganese and the dates add multiple vitamins and minerals.

When I first tasted them, I thought chewy was the way to go, until I re-baked half of the slices and tried them crunchy.  Wow, they got even better!!  My taste testers also preferred the crunchy over the chewy by a slight margin.  I can easily see these oat nut bars becoming an easy breakfast go-to as well as a great energy boost to get through the afternoon slump.  Try them toasted and topped with yogurt or cream cheese or my favorite way, just on their own.

Oat Nut Bars

  • Servings: 16-18 bars
  • Difficulty: easy
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Oat Nut Bars with Coconut

Nonstick vegetable cooking spray

6 large Medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped

1 cup pure maple syrup

2 Tbsp unsalted butter or coconut oil

2 cups old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup raw almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts or cashews

1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

2 Tbsp amaranth or sesame seeds

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat an 8 1/2×4″ loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on long sides. Spray parchment.

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  • Bring dates and maple syrup to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce heat to medium-high, stirring often, until dates are very soft and maple syrup is slightly reduced, 8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in butter/coconut oil until it is melted.  You can mash the dates with a fork or blender if desired.

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  • Toss all other ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour date mixture over the top and mix until evenly coated.  Scrape half of the mixture into prepared pan and press very firmly and evenly with a wooden spoon or spatula to compress it as much as possible (Important)
  • Add remaining oat mixture and press until very tightly packed into pan.
  • Oat Nut Bars 2 Bake until loaf is darkened in color and firm around the edges, and center gives just slightly when pressed, 45-50 minutes. Tent with foil if browning too quickly.

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  • Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool in pan before turning out (it can even sit overnight).  Cut into 1/2’thick slices with a serrated knife.

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  • For crisp bars, lay slices on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown 8-10 minutes (turning once), or toast in a toaster oven.
  • Makes about 16 bars.  Bars should keep five days, tightly wrapped at room temperature (if they last that long!)