These chewy, thick oatmeal bars are effing AMAZING. SO very much tastier and scrumptiousier than those boxed ones that cost a fortune. Even my husband likes these bars and he hates half the ingredients that I put in them. Super easy too! Here's what you need...
1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed in food processor or blender...or be lazy like me and use baby oatmeal.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (I used Craisins, raisins, and dried blueberries)
1 grated carrot
1 grated apple (or chunked...however you like it.)
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (I used Skippy creamy peanut butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup honey (if you don't have or can't use honey, you can use maple syrup for this too)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 11"x 7"pan with parchment paper, allowing some extra to hang over the edges so you can easily lift the bar out after baking. Lightly grease with non-stick spray.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts if you are using any. Add the vanilla, olive oil, honey/syrups and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. If you have some little tykes hanging on to your pants asking all those "why" questions, put them to task with mixing it all together with their grubbly, cute little fingers. It's why we had kids right?? Free labor? Spread the semi-slop goodness in the prepared pan and squish those suckers down until they're as dense as that blonde chick your little brother has started dating. Bake the bars for 30 minutes or just until they are brown around the edges.
Now, I know you want to dig on in because the smell is intoxicating, but you need to restrain yourself. We need to let these suckers cool down so you don't burn off your taste buds and miss out on the whole yummy thing. Let em cool in the pan for about 30 minutes and then lift them out with the edges of the parchment paper. Let them cool about another 10 minutes and bust out the sharpest knife you are allowed to use unsupervised and cut those bad boys down to size! I cut mine into squarish shapes, but if you want to live dangerously, you can cut them into bite size pieces. Trust me. Unless you want some help in the regularity department, don't make them snack size.
I put waxed paper in between layers of the bars and put them in a Zip-lock freezer bag and keep them in my fridge. You don't have to do the fridge thing, I just like mine cold.
.......Don't ask why there's no pictures.
Until next time......