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Friday, January 4, 2013

Strawberry Almond Oatmeal Bars

Love the pioneer woman, Ree Drummond and her blog.  Any city girl who marries a rancher, moves to the country, raises kids and writes a blog about the food she cooks... could almost qualify to be a bestie to this city girl who is in the country at the foothills of Mt. Rainer, raising a daughter and blogs about life.  Hmmm.    Well, if you haven't checked our her blog already, I highly recommend it.  She not only makes good food, but her photos and writing are really enjoyable.   
Now, while I love her recipes.. there are few that I make without altering to bring to the healthier side.  No offense to her, I mostly do that to all recipes I encounter.  Her Strawberry Oatmeal Bars are very good and that is where this recipe is inspired from.  Her recipe the bars come out way too sweet and salty.   I have added almond meal to the bars and have switched to healthier options where I could.  These are very dessert-y but I guess good for breakfast if you like sweets in the morning.  I think my mom would really like these.  I have cut the sugar, but if you like them more for a dessert bar.. you can increase the brown sugar up to 1 cup.   

Strawberry Almond Oatmeal Bars

  • 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temp and cut into pieces, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 cup whole wheat white flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (buy usually in bulk area, or Bob's Red Mills but can easily be made by coarsing whole almonds into a flour in the food processor.  Careful not to over process or you will end up with almond butter!)
  • 1 1/2 cup whole oats, not instant
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • One 10 ounce jar strawberry preserves 
Pre-heat oven to 350º   Place strawberry preserves (if in glass jar, if not in an oven proof glass dish) in warming oven for a minute or two to loosen up for easy spreading.  
Meanwhile butter a 9 x13 baking dish (or a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper works well, too).   
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, almond meal, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add butter and using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut butter into flour mixture til crumbly and pea size.  
Press half of flour/oat mixture evenly into the bottom of baking dish.  Pour preserves over evenly, spreading with offset spatula. Pour the rest of the flour/oat mixture over the strawberry layer and pat gently and evenly.
Bake 35-40 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool completely(!)  ..Especially if you want to pick them up like a bar.  If not they are scrumptious warm and probably really excellent with some vanilla ice cream!  
Cut into squares and serve. 

Gotta love a one bowl recipe.

 cutting in the room temp. butter

 this pastry blender works really well for this task

 first layer pressed into bottom of dish 

 layer of jam and then sprinkle the rest of the oat mixture on

 press the top layer gently into the jam and ready to bake

 35 minutes til golden brown

 simple, simple, simple and so ridiculously good.

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