I put my leftover Berry Chia Seed Jam to good use by making some luscious jam-filled oat bars, and they were just as delish as I thought they’d be. I’m not quite sure if I categorize these babies as a dessert bar or a healthy snack bar (see here and here)…or maybe a healthy dessert? Either way, these Berry Chia Seed Jam Oat Bars are going to be right up your alley.
Yesterday and today I enjoyed one of these oat bars for a mid-day snack, and let me tell you, they hit the spot. Really, they’re made with all good-for-you ingredients, so no reason to feel guilty for indulging. So what’s in ‘em, you ask? Well, for starters, lots and lots of oats—both whole and ground oats. Then a decent amount of ground bran flakes. Side thought, if bran flakes are my favorite cereal…maybe I’m older than I thought, no? This turning 30 thing is playing tricks on me. ;)
Anyway, there’s also nuts, mashed banana, maple syrup, apple butter, and cinnamon. No butter, no eggs, no regular flour. That’s right; these sweet little bars are entirely vegan. Now there is a little give and take here. What I mean is that these oat bars are definitely chewier, instead of shortbread-ish, which is what comes to mind when I think of traditional oat bars. Have no-fear though, these oat bars are still incredibly yummy and quite hearty.
You can taste the oats, the pecans and walnuts, the banana, and the cinnamon—again all very fall-ish ingredients, if you ask me. Oooh, speaking of, pumpkin oat bars with apple butter or apple jelly filling would be fabulous. Mm, a must try.
Okay, back to taste. You can most definitely taste the banana in these bars, but it’s a welcome flavor, and it helps keep the bars on the lighter side (calorie-wise). For me, the best part is that these oat bars aren’t overly sweet—the maple syrup and the apple butter add just the right amount of sweetness. Oh, and don’t forget the salt, which helps amp up the flavors. Lastly, the jam! I already told you how fantabulous it is, and I can assure you it’s just as lovely sandwiched between two layers or oat bar goodness.
- 3 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats—divided
- 2 cups bran flakes cereal
- ½ cup nuts (I used walnuts and pecans)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 cups mashed banana
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup apple butter
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup Berry Chia Seed Jam or your favorite jam
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper (leave a little overhang) and spray with non-stick spray.
- To a large bowl, add 2 cups of oats. Add the remaining 1 cup of oats and the bran flakes to a blender or food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer to the bowl with the oats.
- Add the nuts to the blender or food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to the large bowl. Add the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt to the bowl and stir or whisk to combine.
- Add the mashed banana, maple syrup, apple butter, and vanilla to the bowl and stir until fully combined.
- Evenly press about ⅔ of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Carefully slather the jam overtop, stopping about a ¼ inch from the edge. Drop the remaining oat mixture by the spoonful on top of the jam and use your fingers to gently spread it out (it doesn’t need to be perfect).
- Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. If the top begins to brown too quickly, lay a piece of parchment paper or foil loosely over the baking dish.
- Let cool for 20-30 minutes. Remove from dish and gently cut into 15 bars.