In case you didn’t know, it was National Strawberry Day yesterday, and I was super eager to prepare something to celebrate with fresh strawberries, until a shopping trip to my local health food store deterred me from purchasing them. At around $8-$10 for organic strawberries (I really try not to buy conventional as strawberries are one of the worst offenders for pesticide contaminants), I decided to go with a more seasonal option: organic jam.
This recipe was inspired by one I got from Crofter’s Organic that I’m pretty sure I picked up at some local Toronto food festival or healthy trade show. Either way, it was on my fridge for a while and had been meaning to make them. And sure enough, they are pretty fantastic (and addictive!) and a great treat for little ones. Who doesn’t have nostalgic memories of peanut butter and jam sandwiches when they were in elementary school?
It’s vegan and extremely fast and easy to put together, and I’ve modified it to make it gluten-free. I used strawberry jam, but you can use whatever jam you like as well as any nut butter you like. For those allergic to peanuts, I’ve suggested another flavour combination below using almond butter, which is a more sophisticated option that may be great for serving to guests.
As for those extra crumbs that always seem to be leftover at the bottom of the pan when the bars are gone, I sprinkled them on Bodhi’s dinner as a treat and he gobbled it up. Kind of like streusel topping. 🙂
I hope you enjoy these as much as I (and Bodhi) did! I’d love to hear your comments below if you do try it!
Peanut Butter and Jam Oat Bars (makes 16 small squares)
- 1 1/2 cups organic quick-cook rolled oats
- 1/4 cup organic sorghum flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. pink Himalayan salt
- 3/4-1 cup organic crunchy peanut butter (I used Nuts To You brand)
- 7 tbsp. organic maple syrup
- 1 tsp. organic vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups organic naturally sweetened jam of your choice (I used a whole 235 mL jar of Crofter’s Organic)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8″ x 8″ square pan with coconut oil (or if you use a glass one like I did, you don’t need to grease it at all!)
- Mix the oats, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
- In a medium bowl, mix the wet ingredients together, except the jam (peanut butter, syrup and vanilla) until combined.
- Mix peanut mixture into oat mixture until everything is thoroughly distributed and crumbly. You may have to get in there and use your hands. Pack 1/2 cup dough aside in a measuring cup to use for the topping later and press the rest of the peanut butter crumble evenly into the bottom of the pan.
- Spread the jam evenly over the base. I scooped all of the jam out into the bowl and stirred it around first so it was smooth and easy to spread.
- Crumble the remaining oat mixture evenly over the top.
- Bake for 25 minutes until the topping turns golden.
- These are best eaten on the first day as they are crunchy. Covering them overnight will make the bars softer and less crunchy, so if you want to keep them crisper, don’t seal the container tightly, but loosely cover it.
Cherry-Almond Oat Bars: Substitute the same quantities of almond butter for peanut butter, almond extract for vanilla, and use cherry jam for the filling.