Monday, February 21, 2011

Almond Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

Most of the time, I reach for food because I'm craving a specific flavour profile. If I want something vibrant, I'll usually hit up something with a ton of fresh herbs. If I'm looking for something smoky, I'll make something involving bacon.

Every once in a while though, I find myself craving something that relates to an image or colour. After this morning's post about cherry blossoms, I found myself staring into the pantry on the search for something pink.

The closest I could come was cranberries - of which there were very few left. But it wasn't just pink I was after, but something slightly floral too. Almond extract would suit that purpose.

Oatmeal Almond Cranberry Bars

(loosely inspired by epicurious)


1 cup oats
½ cup flour (I used whole wheat because it was closer to the front of the cupboard than white)
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup chopped dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped toasted almonds
¼ cup flaked unsweetened coconut
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tbsp almond butter
1 egg
½ tsp almond extract
½ tsp vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Line an 8x8 pan with aluminum foil (make sure you have an overhang so you can easily remove the bars later) and grease with butter.

2. In a large bowl, stir together first eight ingredients (through salt).

3. In a separate bowl, stir together remaining ingredients.

4. Pour wet ingredients over dry. Stir until just together. Dump mixture into pan, and pat into place.

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Lift the foil and bars out of the pan, and let cool on a rack.

Cut into 16 squares.

The almond extract adds a lovely sweetness and tone to these oatmeal bars, and the almond butter helps to keep them moist.

Really though, this is a very adaptable recipe. You could replace the almonds and cranberries with chocolate chips and walnuts, with dried apricots and pecans, with just about anything. Why not try white chocolate and cranberry?


Angela said...

These look amazing, I am going to have to try this recipe. Yum!

rar said...

I agree! Breakfast bars, anyone?

Alyson said...

I may, or may not, have had two for breakfast this morning...

rar said...

p.s. would craisins (sweetened, dried cranberries) work ok? or would the sugar ruin things, do you think?

Alyson said...

They would totally work - I used ones that had been very lightly sweetened (I should have mentioned that they were dried! I'll go fix that now.) I might cut back a little on the sugar though if you're going to make these as breakfast bars rather than dessert.

Locavore Family said...

I'm making these right now to take to Cape Breton to fuel our hikes. Can't wait. :)

Locavore Family said...

Just waiting to put these in the oven and looking forward to sampling them.

After trying your recipe, I had to wing the measurement on the coconut - I assumed 1/4 cup as well?

Alyson said...

Oh gosh, yes, thanks Linds! It was definitely a ¼ cup, though you could use more if you wanted!

Anonymous said...

These are great - I didn't have any almond butter so I substituted a couple tablespoons of orange juice and I used sunflower seeds instead of almonds.

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