Get ready for the Sweet Sixteen basketball playoffs with these super-healthy oatmeal-raisin snack bars. Make 16 bars in just 16 minutes: sweet! They're perfect for budding athletes, full of whole grains and fruit with no cholesterol or added fat. The bars hold together well and aren't sticky, so you can bring a plate of them into the TV room without hesitation. Of course, they pack well in a lunch bag too.
I'm excited that two teams I follow made it into the Sweet Sixteen: my home team, NC State's mighty Wolfpack, and the team from where I grew up, Michigan State's fierce Spartans. I hope both teams shoot for the moon!
But back to baking.... I took a plate of Oatmeal Raisin Bars to a friend who sent these comments from her family:
We all loved them and would be very happy to find them in our lunch boxes! "Really good. " "I like the consistency." "Just the right amount of sugar." "It's like a muffin."
Sweet Sixteen Oatmeal Raisin Bars, vegan with no added fat
Active time: 16 minutes. Total time: 46 minutes. Serves 16.
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed (14 grams)
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (190 grams)
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour (120 grams)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (165 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup applesauce (128 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup raisins (160 grams)
- 1 cup walnut pieces (110 grams), coarsely chopped
- Make flaxseed "eggs" by heating ground flaxseed and water in a microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir until texture becomes eggy.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
- Put oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into a mixing bowl. Mix on low speed using an electric mixer until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add flax eggs, applesauce, and vanilla and mix on low until mixture is well combined and evenly moist. Stir in raisins and chopped walnuts.
- Spread dough evenly in the baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top just begins to turn golden brown. Let cool, then cut into 16 bars. Keeps covered at room temperature for about four days and freezes well.
Tips and Notes
- Get ground flaxseed at health food stores and many grocery stores. This recipe uses the equivalent of two flaxseed eggs.
- Use whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour if you don't have white whole wheat flour.
- Customize this recipe by using other dried fruit or chopped nuts in place of the raisins and walnuts. Just keep the total amount at about two cups so the bars hold together.