It's back to school in our house, which means it's time to start packing lunches and having after school snacks on hand. Like many other families, I struggle to make lunches less ordinary. I don't want my boys to get bored with what they're eating, plus, I want them to eat healthy!
The last couple of weeks I've been scrounging through magazines and cookbooks looking for inspiration. Luckily, I have a lot of reading material to choose from. (I'm a certified cookbook-aholic!) :)
I came across this oatmeal bars recipe in a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and knew it would be perfect for our family. I changed the recipe just slightly and the bars are absolutely delicious.
These bars are a cross between a cookie and a cake, in my opinion. They are thick and hearty and full of stuff that's good for you.
Oat Bars with Walnuts & Bittersweet Chocolate
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma "Healthy in a Hurry" Cookbook
Makes 24 bars
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12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used Greenwillow Grains)
1 cup rolled oats (I used Greenwillow Grains)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into bite size pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil. Lightly grease the foil with a teaspoon or two of softened butter.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and well incorporated. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla.
Slowly add the flour mixture to your mixer, a little at a time, until just combined. Fold in the chocolate and walnuts with a wooden spoon.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking dish. The mixture will be thick but that's ok! Just use a rubber spatula to spread it as best you can.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the bars cool completely.
Once cool, use the edges of the foil to lift the bars out of the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into 24 bars. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container.
*Disclaimer: Greenwillow Grains was gracious enough to send me their products for recipe development at no charge, but I was not monetarily compensated for this review. All opinions, as always, are my own.