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healthy berry streusel oat bars

Healthy Berry Streusel Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour (includes berries cooling)
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours (includes cooling)
  • Yield: 12
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These easy healthy berry streusel bars combine two layers of almond oat streusel and one thick layer of berry filling. These dessert bars are vegan. If using certified gluten free oats, they’re gluten free as well!


Ingredients

Berry Filling

  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (12g) cornstarch
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (23ml) water
  • 2 cups (about 300g) fresh or frozen mixed berries (do not thaw & see note)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon (11g) coconut sugar, brown sugar, or granulated sugar

Crust + Streusel

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (200g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats or quick oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (255g) almond butter
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) melted coconut oil
  • for topping: 1/2 cup (64g) sliced or chopped almonds and 1 extra Tablespoon oats

Instructions

  1. Berry Filling: Whisk the cornstarch and water together until all the cornstarch has dissolved. (I just use a fork to mix– very easy.) Place the cornstarch mixture, berries, maple syrup, and coconut sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture as it cooks. Smash some of the berries against the bottom/sides of the pot as you stir, gently breaking them up. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. After 2 minutes, remove pan from the heat and allow to cool completely. The mixture will thicken as it cools. To speed up the cooling process, feel free to cover and refrigerate it after it slightly cools for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. I recommend making the berry filling in advance so it can cool completely. Berry filling can be cold or room temperature when you assemble the bars– you just don’t want it hot or warm.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the bars out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.
  3. Make the crust/streusel: Pulse the oats in a food processor or blender until they’re slightly broken up. (For whole oats, about 10 pulses. For quick oats, about 5-6 pulses.) Pour into a bowl and stir in the cinnamon, almond butter, maple syrup, applesauce, and melted coconut oil. Mixture will be thick and wet.
  4. Using the back of a flat spatula or a spoon, press about 3/4 of the crust/streusel mixture tightly and firmly down into the pan. Make sure it’s flat and very compact, which helps guarantee the bars will hold their shape. Spread cooled berry filling evenly on top.
  5. For Topping: Mix the sliced almonds into the remaining crust/streusel mixture. Sprinkle all over the top of the berry filling. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of oats evenly on top. (Helps soak up some moisture.)
  6. Bake for 27-31 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and place baking pan on a cooling rack. Allow bars to cool completely. After about 1 hour cooling at room temperature, you can place the pan in the refrigerator to help speed the cooling up. Lift the cooled bars out using the parchment paper overhang on the sides. Cut into squares.
  7. Cover and store leftover bars in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Layer the cooled and cut bars between sheets of parchment in a freezer-friendly bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
  2. Fruits: You need 2 cups of fresh or frozen berries. I typically use 1 cup of blueberries, 1/2 cup of chopped strawberries, and 1/2 cup of raspberries. You can use a blend of mixed berries or only blueberries, blackberries, or even chopped cherries. Extra juicy berries such as strawberries or raspberries will yield flimsier bars. I haven’t tested this recipe with other fruits, but let me know if you try it.
  3. Nut Butter: I recommend using creamy almond butter, but you can use crunchy instead if needed. You can also replace with peanut butter (natural or non-natural), cashew butter, or another nut butter of your choice. Sunflower seed butter is a great nut-free alternative.
  4. Ingredient Questions: I’ve made these bars countless times with all sort of ingredients substitutions. See all successful ingredient substitutions in the blog post above.
  5. Topping: I mix sliced almonds into the topping, but you can use any chopped nut (or sunflower seeds/pepitas) instead. I don’t recommend skipping this addition because it helps bulk up the topping. If you don’t have any nuts, add 1/4 cup (20g) of whole or quick oats to the topping mixture in step 5. No need to pulse them first and no need for that extra 1 Tablespoon of oats.

Keywords: berry streusel bars, healthy bars, vegan