Fruit ‘n’ oat squares

In case you haven’t noticed by some of my recent posts (here and here), I’ve been on a bit of an apple craze lately. I blame it on the beautiful abundance of apples that I came across at a recent trip to a local market. As soon as I saw them, I immediately started visualizing new ways to use them in my baking to make the most of their great taste and juicy appeal.

One concept I came up with involved the use of apple butter, which is similar to applesauce but more concentrated in texture and flavour. It is produced by slow cooking apples and apple cider to the point where the sugar in the apples caramelizes, turning the apple butter a deep brown. Cinnamon or other spices are often added for extra flavour. I found a simple sugar-free recipe here, but you can also buy it commercially (Eden Organic apple butter is widely available in Toronto).

I also had a large supply of local, organic strawberries in my freezer (I tend to stock up on berries when they’re in season), so I got into my mad scientist mode and went to work on creating a healthy new treat. After two interesting trials, I ended up with a sugar- and gluten-free treat that will most definitely please any sugar addict. The natural sweetness of strawberries and ripe bananas, combined with oats, almonds and spiced apple butter, make for one delicious evening treat–it’s particularly good served with banana soft serve and sliced fruit. This became my second entry to the September SOS Kitchen Challenge, hosted by Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs and Kim of Affairs of Living. 

Fruit 'n' Oat Squares | A Dash of Compassion

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Fruit 'n' oat squares

Ingredients:

For the base and topping:

    • 1 very ripe banana
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 2 cups rolled oats (see notes below)
    • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
    • Topping additions: 1/4 cup each rolled oats, unsweetened coconut flakes and chopped nuts

For the filling:

  • 3 cups chopped strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple butter
  • 1/4 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg (optional, if using plain apple butter)

Directions:

For the base and topping:

    1. In a food processor, blend the banana and applesauce until smooth.
    2. Add the oats, coconut, cinnamon and salt and blend to combine.
    3. Add the coconut oil and nuts and pulse a few times to combine.
    4. Press the batter evenly into the bottom of an oiled 8 x 8 inch square pan, reserving 1 cup of batter for the topping.
    5. Put the remaining 1 cup of batter in a medium bowl and break it up into small chunks with a spoon or fork.
    6. Mix in the additional topping ingredients (oats, coconut and nuts) to the batter. Set aside.

For the filling:

  1. Blend the strawberries, apple butter and optional spices in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Spread the filling evenly over the oat base in the pan.
  3. Drop small pieces of the topping over the fruit filling, spreading out evenly. Press down gently with the back of a spoon.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature and store leftovers in the fridge.

If you have a gluten intolerance, use oats that are certified gluten-free. Oats don't naturally contain gluten, but commercial brands can be contaminated by contact with grains that do.

      

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3 Responses to “Fruit ‘n’ oat squares”

  1. Kim — September 25, 2010 @ 3:11 am

    Oh my, these looks absolutely wonderful! You are such a great baker. I like the balance of ingredients, and the use of apple+strawberries for the filling. Very nice! Hmn, will we see a third recipe out of you before the challenge is over? ;) Thanks for such a wonderful second entry! xoxo Kim | http://www.affairsofliving.com

  2. Ricki — September 25, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

    What a fabulous recipe! I love that it is naturally sweetened, only with the banana and applesauce. And so many flavors that I love in these! Thanks for a fabulous second entry! :)

  3. Jennifer — October 3, 2010 @ 11:01 pm

    These look absolutely wonderful. Healthy and delicious treats perfect for fall!

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