Chewy Oat Squares


Chewy? Yes. Oats? Well, um, yeah. Squares? Not so much. 

Breakfast in our house varies. Right now with two kids going different places and the younger one eating breakfast where she goes, we don’t get too fancy in the morning on weekdays. Weekends, however, are a little different. Regardless of all that there is often a request by the younger (and sometimes the older) to have a “snack” in the morning. One of the younger’ go to requests is a granola bar, or as she calls it a “nilla” bar. 

As such, when I found this recipe I thought it would be a good idea to try it. Now at this point she has yet to try one but I have and I think they turned out pretty well. Except for the fact that they are not sticking together. 

I think that they may have needed to bake a little longer. However, I did make some changes to the recipe which could be causing the problem. I’ve listed the original recipe below but here is what I changed – 

  • Water in place of the apple juice (oops, out of juice)
  • 1/2 cup raisins in place of the dates (and I may have over processed them)
  • Blue Agave syrup in place of the golden cane syrup
  • Chopped cranberries in place of the cherries
  • Dark chocolate chips in place of the semi-sweet (the dark chocolate chip is a little bigger than the regular ones)

I’m not sure any of those changes really made a difference but it might have. I was looking for the cane syrup, not finding anything that wasn’t corn syrup or something like the blue agave syrup. I had some blue agave syrup at home that I didn’t know what I would ever use it for, so I used it for this. I had just enough. Maybe using corn syrup would have been better. Corn syrup is thicker than the blue agave syrup. And I missed that I was only supposed to “chop” the dates with the water and I pretty much puréed them. Not sure that I made a huge different but it was more liquid to deal with in the recipe. 

Or this whole thing could have been a result of my oven being wonky again and needing to leave it bake for a bit longer. We will make some (more) adjustments the next time. 

Recipe taken from the August 2013 issue of Cooking Light magazine. 

  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 6 whole pitted dates, coarsely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup golden cane syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9″ square pan with parchment paper. Coat paper with cooking spray. 

Place juice and dates in a food processor. Pulse until dates are finely chopped. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in date mixture, syrup and salt. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes. 

Stir in oats, cherries, chocolate chips and sesame seeds. Spoon mixture into prepared pan. With wet hands (or the spoon) press mixture into the corners of the pan and smooth out. 

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Place pan in fridge and cool for an additional 20 minutes. Invert pan onto a cutting board. Remove paper and cut into 16 squares. 

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