Cranberry Oatmeal Bars
There's something truly magical about the combination of tart cranberries and hearty oats. These Cranberry Oatmeal Bars are not just a delightful treat for your taste buds, but also a wholesome snack that you can enjoy guilt-free. Packed with the goodness of cranberries, oats, and a hint of sweetness, these bars are easy to make and perfect for any occasion. Let's dive into this irresistible recipe and get ready to indulge in a burst of flavors!
For the Oatmeal Base and Topping:
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Cranberry Filling:
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water (for thickening)
1. Preheat Your Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and set it aside.
2. Prepare the Cranberry Filling: In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, granulated sugar, water, and orange zest. Cook over medium heat until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch-water mixture and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the filling is thickened. Remove from heat and let it cool while you prepare the oatmeal base and topping.
3. Prepare the Oatmeal Base and Topping: In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract. Mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Assemble the Bars: Press half of the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan, creating an even layer. Spread the cranberry filling over the oat layer. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over the cranberry filling, pressing down gently.
5. Bake to Perfection: Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
6. Cool and Cut: Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, refrigerate for at least an hour to firm up the bars. This makes cutting them into neat squares much easier.
7. Serve and Enjoy: Once chilled, use a sharp knife to cut the bars into squares. Arrange them on a serving platter and get ready to enjoy the perfect blend of sweet and tart flavors in every bite.
These Cranberry Oatmeal Bars are not just a dessert; they are a celebration of flavors. Whether you serve them at a party, enjoy them with your afternoon tea, or pack them as a snack, these bars are sure to be a hit. So, gather your ingredients and embark on a culinary journey that will delight your senses and leave you craving for more. Happy baking!