Sometimes when I go grocery shopping, I head over to the reduced produce rack to see if there is anything worth buying. Many times the produce is on the verge of decay but occasionally I get the jackpot. For example, this past month I’ve scored some gorgeous, juicy organic tomatoes perfect for making fresh pasta sauce, two handfuls of Ontario garlic, which by the way I’m still enjoying and a bag of ripe, jolly lemons for less than a dollar!
On a recent supermarket trip, I found a bag of assorted apples, some were bruised but otherwise they were perfect for baking. And so my quest began to find a recipe (or two) to use these apples.
I wanted a recipe that was healthy and that would allow the fresh flavour of the apples to come through. I found it on kickpleat’s blog in the form of raspberry/blackberry oat breakfast bars. Except of course, I used apples. I think some almonds, walnuts or pecans would also have gone nicely thrown into this dish.
The verdict? These bars are tangy, subtly sweet and have a healthy dose of cinnamon. They smell and taste like Fall should. The crust is more like bread than pastry so it holds up to the hefty apple filling and one piece will certainly satiate your craving for dessert without being cloyingly sweet.
apple oat breakfast bars (recipe adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches)
For the crust:
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
7 tbs cold unsalted butter
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
honey for drizzling or sugar
For the fruit filling:
5 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 tbs cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground clove
1 tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbs arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease a 9×13″ glass or metal pan and line with 1 piece of parchment paper, allowing the paper to hang over the sides. Grease parchment as well and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, blend together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in the oats & the cinnamon. Chop the butter into small pieces and drop into the flour/oat mixture. Use your hands to blend until the dough resembles coarse pebbles.
3. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice and vanilla extract together. Pour this mixture into the flour/butter mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until it just comes together.
4. In another bowl, place the peeled and chopped apples and mix with lemon juice, arrowroot or cornstarch, white sugar, cinnamon and clove.
5. Press two-thirds of the dough into the prepared 9×13″ pan and spread the apple mixture over top. Scatter the remaining dough over the apples. Drizzle with some honey or sprinkle with sugar.
6. Bake for about 50 minutes or until the apples are soft and bubbling and the oats are golden brown. Remove from oven to cool completely before cutting into squares.*
*Note: This dish can be eaten as a crumble when warm from the oven or easily cut up into bars once cold.