Thursday, March 29, 2012

Decadent Oatmeal Bars

This is the culinary version of the story of the wolf in sheep's clothing. Think about it: Decadent Oatmeal Bars... sounds like it should be at least somewhat healthy, right? And look at the ingredients, not to mention the photos - tons of whole grains, unsweetened cocoa, flax, natural peanut and Three Legume Butter, even fruit and almonds! Should be the healthiest snack in the world.

Well, leave it to me to take all those ingredents, perfectly nutritious in their own, natural form, and basically turn them into a brownie that thinks it's a health food bar. Don't get me wrong, these are healther than most restaurant or bakery desserts by sheer virtue of the ingredients - and the relatively low added oil and sugar factor (I opted for a mixture of sweeteners and most of the fat came from the legume and peanut butters, not oil). But if you're counting calories, fat grams or carbs, these are probably not going to make your "must bake now" list. Come to think of it, if you are counting those things (especially the carbs), should you really be reading this blog? I mean, thanks and all for your support, but maybe you'll find my other, more nutritionally-oriented journal a bit more suited to your purposes. Or scan through some of my diet specific recipes (categories on the sidebar) - I do have some gems!

But back to these bars. I think their name says it all, honestly. They are very oatmealy, extraordinarly decadent, and once they've cooled completely, slice perfectly into bars or cubes perfect to wrap individually or pop into zipper bags and toss into your lunchbag or backpack. They even make a great meal replacement option for those who are used to grabbing a granola bar (or Oatmeal-to-Go type concoction) to eat in the car. There's lots of slow-burning, complex carbs; some cholesterol free, omega-3 rich fats and a decent amount of stay full and energized protein in a delicious, chocolatey package. There's even a hint of coffee in the mix - no need for the drive thru cafe!

 

Decadent Oatmeal Bars
Makes one 9" pan, 12 bars
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup warm coffee
1 2/3 cups Three Legume Butter or 2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or soybeans, mashed
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tbsp coconut sugar or dark brown sugar
2 tbsp local honey (preferably a dark buckwheat variety)
1 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 1/4 cups quick oats
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/3 cup All-Bran cereal
1/3 cup Craisins
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 300F, line a 9" square pan with parchment.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together flaxseed and coffee, let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Beat in the mashed beans, peanut butter, sugar, malt syrup, honey and melted butter until well blended.
  4. Stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, oats, cocoa, All Bran, Craisins, almonds and chocolate chips.
  5. Press firmly into the pan.
  6. Bake 20 minutes.
  7. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours before slicing.
  8. Wrap individual bars in plastic, then foil, and store at room temperature up to 2 weeks (or freeze up to 2 months)
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 384.5
Total Fat: 25.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 187.8 mg
Total Carbs: 33.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.3 g
Protein: 13.7 g