Oatmeal Blueberry Bars

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Oatmeal Blueberry Bars
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Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 1 hour

Most kids love fruit-filled bars. But not only are they an expensive snack, they are sometimes filled with less-than-healthy ingredients (like high-fructose corn syrup). This wholesome version, made with oatmeal and whole wheat flour, not only tastes better than the store-bought variety, but is better for you too. Wrap each bar in plastic, seal in a zip-top bag, and freeze; since it only takes an hour or so to thaw, when you pack it in your child's snack or lunch bag, it will be ready to eat when they are.

What you'll need

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup blueberry spreadable fruit , or low-sugar preserves
  • 1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white, whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup skim or low-fat milk
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, from about 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Notes:

Makes 15 bars

Variations:

Variations: If blueberries aren't your thing, feel free to experiment with other flavors of preserves. Just be sure to use jam (which contains both fruit juice and flesh) rather than jelly (which is just juice).

How to make it

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with 2-inch sides with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together oatmeal, flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and brown sugar. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the butter and add it to the oatmeal mixture.

  3. Using your fingers or two knives, combine the oatmeal mixture with the butter until it forms pea-size chunks.

  4. Pour the milk into a small bowl. Add the lemon juice to the milk and stir to combine. Add the vanilla and mix well.

  5. Pour the milk mixture into the oatmeal mixture and stir with a fork until all the dough is evenly moistened. It will have the consistency of cookie dough.

  6. Press just over half of the dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan, using a sheet of plastic wrap so it doesn't stick to your hands. Spread the blueberry preserves evenly over that, then crumble the remaining dough over the blueberry preserves. Some of the jam will be visible through the topping.

  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Cool completely in the pan, and then cut into 2x3-inch bars. Wrap bars in plastic, seal in a zip-top bag and freeze for longer storage. Otherwise, eat within 2-3 days.

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