Oooh, these bars! I’m a sucker for bar cookies anyway, but these! They’re just simple oatmeal crumble bars with dried fruit, but somehow they are surprisingly delicious. I think it’s the filling.
I can’t remember why this particular recipe clipping was in among my “try it now” recipes. It did offer variations in which different dried fruits could be used (it was originally written for dried cranberries), which is my kind of recipe. I had some really good dried cherries I wanted to use as part of a pathetic attempt to clear out the pantry, and this seemed like a great place to use them. I didn’t use the citrus juice and zest in the original recipe, instead adding some extra butter to replace the juice (Shame on me!) and living without the zest.
It’s nothing particularly new to have an oatmeal-based crust on the bottom of a pan of bars, some of which is set aside to make a crumble topping. What seemed unique to me, however, was the makeup of the filling. Maybe I’m out of touch, but I couldn’t remember seeing a filling for bars with a sweetened sour cream base. And it’s really, really good!
The crust and topping get firm upon baking, but not overly crunchy. They stay fairly soft and not too crumbly. The filling is moist and fruity just the right complement to the oat-y base. These bars are not too sweet, and I might even eat them for breakfast. After all, they’re loaded with oats and fruit. That sounds like breakfast to me!
Seriously, though: if I’m the only one in the world who hadn’t heard of this kind of bar cookie before, I stand humbled. And relieved that I don’t have to live without them anymore. They could be endlessly varied with all kinds of dried fruit, other flavor additions, and, perhaps, even chocolate. My kind of recipe, indeed!
Oatmeal and Dried Cherry Bars
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine
For the crust and crumble topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup light brown sugar
1 cup quick-cooking oats
8 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ teaspoon almond extract
For the filling:
1 large egg white
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 1/3 cup dried cherries
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray or grease it with butter. Set aside.
2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the 1 cup flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Whisk together. Whisk in the brown sugar. Add the oats and stir to combine well.
3. Pour in the melted butter and ¼ teaspoon almond extract. Stir together until the dry ingredients are completely moistened. The mixture will be crumbly.
4. Reserve ½ cup of the oat mixture and set aside. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Set aside.
5. In another medium-size bowl, lightly beat the egg white. Whisk in the sugar and sour cream until smooth. Whisk in the flour. Whisk in the vanilla and ½ teaspoon almond extract. Stir in the dried cherries.
6. Pour the filling mixture over the crust in the baking pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly over the filling, squeezing together to from clumps.
7. Bake at 325 F for 40 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
Makes about 16 bars.
One year ago: Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting