It’s quite remarkable how childhood memories of certain foods I enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy) have a way of resurfacing and connecting me to my past. Memories of strawberry oat bars bring distinctive memories of my old childhood neighborhood.
My parents moved to a small house in North Seattle more than 45 years ago after my mom graduated from the University of Washington. They were still new in this country, spoke very little English, and didn’t know very many English-speaking people. Fortunately she met and befriended an older lady at the bus stop two blocks from our house named Alice. She ended up becoming a very dear friend to our family.
Alice lived one block, just around the corner from our house. She was an elderly lady that never married, had no children and lived alone. Alice became our beloved American grandmother, and we grew to adore her. Alice was also a prolific baker. As fate would have it I was named after her, and I would follow her passion for baking.
When Alice baked it was always from scratch. She would invite us over to share whatever it was that magically appeared in her oven. Cakes, pies, cookies, and bars – I loved them all. Every time we walked up to her door step and she opened the door we could smell cinnamon, sugar, and all things good wafting through her little house. She was such a blessing.
Today I’m sharing with you an easy recipe for Strawberry Oat Bars in honor of Alice. Anytime I see a bakery selling one I think of her. In some weird little way I like making these oat bars because they make me feel nostalgic, remembering life when it was simple, boring, and wonderfully innocent.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!
Recipe: Strawberry Oat Bars
An easy, classic reduced-fat oat bar recipe filled with strawberry jam.
1 ¼ cups old-fashioned oats
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cups packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons canola oil
¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup strawberry jam
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with non-stick spray and line it with parchment paper.
Using a mixer, mix all the ingredients except the jam. The dough will be slightly sticky.
Evenly press about 60 percent of the dough into the bottom of the pan. You can use the bottom of a measuring cup or a pancake flipper to help do this.
Spread an even layer of jam over the dough base, carefully avoiding the jam from touching the sides of the pan. Otherwise it can leak over the base and burn on the sides.
Forming small clumps of dough, sprinkle the remaining mixture over the jam.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is lightly golden.
Allow the oatmeal bars to completely cool before cutting into 2x2-inch bars.