I have been waiting all winter long to make crumb bars, cobblers and crisps thinking fresh blueberries, strawberries and raspberries come spring time. Ironically, knowing what I know now, EWG in one report finding 38 various pesticides on strawberries and raspberries that DO NOT wash off with water, I ended up baking these blueberry oatmeal crumble bars with frozen blueberries LOL.
My mom was never a baker but she baked crumble bars with jam often. I personally do not like jam in desserts or chocolates (call me crazy) but I loved her bars, the plain part. Unlike with jam, berries were bursting while I was cutting bars and then later on with each bite. Nothing messy, don’t worry.
This blueberry oatmeal crumble bars recipe is not overly sweet; made healthy with whole wheat flour, oats, applesauce, coconut oil, maple syrup, fresh or frozen blueberries and a hint of lemon. Bars would be safe enough for breakfast or a snack instead of muffins. I was happy to add another type of snack to the menu.
Last year I thought no way I can make a healthy version of this sugar, butter and jam loaded classic. You just simply can’t replace white sugar and butter with maple syrup and coconut oil and expect the same cookies. No way! But these bars were quite flexible and turned out amazing!
I have included 2 sweetener options: with maple syrup or coconut palm sugar. My kids were baking healthy donuts in this machine and I bought coconut sugar and spelt flour for that purpose. Donuts came out top notch, they even rolled them in melted coconut oil and then sugar. Huge hit and something they can make on their own and I do not mind cleaning after them. So, I used that sugar for these bars and they came out just like original. With maple syrup the bottom layer was a bit fluffier and cake-y, just like with healthy chocolate chip cookies, but still delicious. So, up to you what you choose as I know some of you use coconut palm sugar and some don’t. I will be exploring it further for sure.
Welcome to my dark morning kitchen! The dough will not be crumbly but rather moist and stick to one piece. That is because I used less fat and added applesauce. If there is liquid accumulated at the bottom of blueberry filling that is perfectly fine. In fact, I squeezed half lemon for more flavour.
When you pat the whole wheat dough into baking dish it will stay together. Press on it to pack tightly so it bakes into a nice cookie like layer. Leave only 1/4 of dough to crumb on top. Many recipes call for 1/2 of dough on top but I found that too much with no berries in sight.
Place berries in a layer on top of dough. You should have more than me because I was a little bit short on blueberries. Then make fine crumbs using your hands. I mean small so it is easier to cut bars without much mess.
That is pretty much it. Bars freeze really well and 1 square goes a long way – very filling. My boys loved these except my little one. Oh well, he gets clean eating banana muffins from the freezer then. If you like baking with fresh or frozen berries, check out my whole wheat coffee cake and almond muffins.
- 2 cups quick oats
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or coconut palm sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder, aluminum free
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 egg, large
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature (not melted)
- 1/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened (1/2 cup if using coconut palm sugar)
- Cooking spray (I use Misto)
- 3 cups blueberries (if using frozen thaw in hot water & drain)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or coconut palm sugar
- 1 orange or lemon, zest of (can also add a bit of juice)
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- In a large mixing bowl, add oats, flour, coconut palm sugar (if using maple syrup add it later with liquids), baking powder, cinnamon and salt; mix well with spatula.
- Add maple syrup (only if not using coconut palm sugar), egg (quickly whisked in a small bowl), coconut oil and applesauce. Mix with a spatula and with your hands more towards the end until well incorporated. Dough will be moist and should stick to one piece, not crumbly.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line square 8" x 8" baking dish with unbleached parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, add Blueberry Filling ingredients and stir well.
- Place 3/4 dough in prepared baking dish, flatten with spatula and press well with your hands. Spread Blueberry Filling on top evenly and crumble remaining dough all over (make sure crumbs are small). Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing into 16 squares.
Significantly adapted from this recipe.:)
Servings Per Recipe: 16
Amount Per Serving = 1 bar:
Total Fat: 8.3 g
Cholesterol: 11.6 mg
Sodium: 57.3 mg
Total Carbs: 24.2 g
Sugars: 8.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.5 g
Protein: 2.9 g
WW Points+: 5