Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fruit Coconut Oatmeal Bars

Om nom nom.

Yeah, that's right. That's the sound of toothsome and very satisfying bars being eaten by the handful. These are sweet, decadent, and utterly delicious. They're easy to make vegan and to change up, flavor-wise, to meet any of your dietary or taste needs.

I got the recipe from, over here, but I made some changes and have experimented with a few different variations, namely blueberry lemon, raspberry, boysenberry, blackberry, and apricot (next time I'm gonna try pineapple. Booyah!). They're all fantastic. I don't think you can go wrong with these.

Anyway, here you go. The recipe I've fiddled with and been using is below.

Fruit Coconut Oatmeal Bars
1 c sweetened or unsweetened coconut ribbons (shredded coconut works well, too; it's what I've been using)
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c unpacked light brown sugar
2 T granulated sugar
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cinnamon
a dash of ground ginger
1/2 c cold salted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 c cold margarine, in pieces (I like Earth Balance)
a generous 1 1/4 c old-fashioned oats
3/4 to 1 c fruit jam or preserves (I tend to go on the 3/4 c side of it; more than that makes these too darned sweet)
1/4 to 1/3 c mini chocolate chips (if desired)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 9×13″ pan with lightly buttered parchment paper.

2. Dump the sugar, flour, spices, butter, and margarine in a food processor and blend until a dough forms. Dump the dough into a large bowl, add the oats and 3/4 c of the coconut, and knead until everything's combined.

3. Set aside about 2/3 cup of dough to use as a topping. Press the rest of the dough evenly into bottom of the prepared baking pan, and spread the jam evenly over it. Sprinkle first the remaining coconut, the mini chocolate chips, and then the crumbled reserved dough over the jam.

4. Bake in the middle of the oven until it's tasty and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before lifting out and cutting into squares. They're very rich and sweet, so 1 to 1 1/2 inch squares is good. Make sure the bars are completely cooled before you try lifting them out and cutting them! If they're still warm, they'll crumble and flop all over the place, and you'll have to use them as an ice cream topping. OH NOES, THE HORROR. I know. Tell me about it!

5. Nom. Share! Enjoy.

Notes: You can easily make these vegan by replacing all the butter with margarine. I'm going to try a recipe using coconut butter and margarine and see how that goes. I'll let you know when I get around to it. You can also make these all-butter, but I find the all-butter version to be entirely too rich. Experimentation has led me to the butter-to-margarine ratio you see above, which I think yields the best taste and texture.

Also, if you want to do other flavors of jam, I recommend zesting a lemon into the dough for the blueberry and boysenberry versions. You can also use white chocolate chips or large dark chocolate chips instead of the mini chocolate chips. Or leave them out entirely, but I think they add depth to the flavor profile, so I'm a fan of leaving 'em in.

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