Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dark Chocolate Chunk Cranberry Oat Bars

I love cranberries, I eat them all year round. Craisins in my salad almost everyday, cranberry sauce pretty often, cranberry juice on occasion (I drink mostly water)
 — I love cranberries.
I also love oat bars. Oat bars are delicious baked treats usually made with rolled oats and flour. You can use any kind of jelly/preserves you like to flavor the oat bars. Lingonberries are another favorite of mine. They're extremely high in anti-oxidants and taste similar to cranberries. Lingonberry preserves are for sale at Ikea for less than $4 a jar.

I like to be creative so I've made oat bars with a variety of fruit (blueberry, lingonberry, raspberry, apricot, and cranberry). I prefer to use All Fruit, sugar-free type preserves. I've also made oat bars with banana and peanut butter and chocolate. I've added ingredients like sunflower seeds and nuts for crunch, taste, and protein.

Anyway, I had a coupon for fresh cranberries, and I confess that as much as I love cranberries I'd never bought fresh cranberries before.

Here's the original recipe from Tasting Table that inspired me. Their recipe called for roasting the cranberries in the oven. After I realized it required frequent stirring, star anise, and was pretty involved, I decided to make a more traditional cranberry sauce on the stove. Stirring frequently while roasting in the oven didn't appeal to me.

I boiled about a cup of water with much less than a cup of sugar on the stove. I never add as much sugar as recipes ask for. They tend to ask for too much, and when you're using fruit, food tends to be plenty sweet. I used a little dark brown sugar, some organic coconut palm sugar, and just a little unfiltered molasses. I find Blackstrap Molasses makes for a fine sweetener. I also added a little less than 1/2 cup of orange juice.

I added just a dash of pumpkin pie spice to the boiling water, then I added the cranberries. Oh my goodness the aroma was so delicious. I will be buying fresh cranberries often and making my own cranberry sauce. Yes I tasted it, and it was delicious.

  • One 12 ounce package of fresh cranberries, washed and drained
  • One cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • One tablespoon unfiltered molasses
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • A dash of pumpkin pie spice
  • Another dash of cinnamon (there is cinnamon in pumpkin pie spice)
Bring all other ingredients to a boil before adding cranberries. Bring to boil again, reduce heat, and stir frequently. Ordinarily one would let the sauce cool and then refrigerate it; but I let it cool just a little and poured it over my oat mixture while it was still warm.


The recipe calls for flour, but by using oat flour it remains gluten-free and wheat-free, and preserves the oat flavor. I make oat flour by grinding rolled oats into a flour in a food processor. It only takes a minute or two for the oats to become a fine flour. 

I make my oat flour in advance and store it in mason jars. The volume of the rolled oats changes when it's processed so it's not only convenient, but it avoids the difficulty of estimating how many oats are needed. This way all I have to do is scoop out the amount of flour needed. I used to use wheat flour, but oat flour works well and tastes great; and the recipe remains gluten-free by avoiding the wheat.



•    ¼ cup brown sugar
•    1 stick softened butter
•    1.5 cups oat flour
•    ¼ teaspoon baking soda
•    1/8 teaspoon salt
•    1.5 cups rolled oats
•    Cranberry sauce (may substitute lingonberry preserves)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Grease 8 inch square glass pan.
Combine brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and rolled oats.
Mix in the butter to form a crumbly mixture. I often use a large wooden spoon.
Press about 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Spread the fruit preserves on top of the oat mixture layer.

*Add dark chocolate chunks to the remaining oat mixture. (I used one small 25 gram bar broken into chunks). This step is optional. The oat bars are still delicious without chocolate.

Layer the remaining crumb mixture on top of the fruit preserves/cranberry sauce.

Ready for baking

Sprinkle with rolled oats if desired.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned.

Fresh out of the oven

Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

Cranberry Oat Bars cooling off

Delicious Cranberry Oat Bar w/chocolate chunks

Dark Chocolate Chunk Cranberry Oat Bar


Delicious and mostly healthy!

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