Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oatmeal-Raisin Squares

My son was responsible for bringing the morning snack to school today so last night we made these Oatmeal-Raisin Squares I found on Martha Stewart's site, of course. They really turned out well! My only tips are to prepare the oat mixture first so that the butter* can soak into the oats prior to baking...and press the oat mixture firmly into the pan so they don't crumble when cool.

* - There is quite a bit of butter in these, which makes them perfect to take to school, a party, or holiday get together...probably not something you want a pan of sitting in your house! If you'd looking for a substitute for some or all of the butter, try applesauce or avocado as outlined below.  

Applesauce: Often used to replace oil in recipes, applesauce can also be used as butter alternative (usually works best in cake-like recipes). For this recipe, I would only replace half the amount of butter with applesauce...they might be too dense if used as a complete substitute.

Avocado: Substitute half-all of the amount of butter in a baking recipe with mashed avocado (it works well with cookies too). Using avocado not only lowers the calorie content but also creates a softer, chewier baked good, and is perfect if you want to omit the dairy.

One last note: you can use any dried fruit you'd like...raisins, cranberries, cherries, dates, blueberries, get the idea!

Makes 24 bars

  • 4 cups Old-Fashioned Quaker Oatmeal
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups raisins
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, add oatmeal, flour, sugar, pecans, baking soda, and salt; stir to combine. Add melted butter and vanilla and stir to incorporate; set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine raisins, 1/2 cup water, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and immediately reduce heat to a simmer; continue cooking for 2 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a food processor; process until almost smooth. If mixture is very liquid, strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding liquid.
  4. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer half the oat mixture to baking dish and press down, using your hands, to form an even layer. Using an offset spatula, spread raisin mixture over oat layer. Top with remaining oat mixture, pressing down to form an even layer.
  5. Transfer to oven and bake until golden brown on top, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into 2-inch squares. Oatmeal-raisin squares may be stored, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

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