Recipe: Apple Cinnamon Oat Squares

Oddly, the grocery store is very cathartic to me.  Whether I'm stressed or just need a moment alone, I enjoy walking up and down the aisles, especially in Whole Foods, Wegmans or specialty purveyors, where I find unique ingredients and gourmet foods.  At a recent trip to Whole Foods, I picked up an in-store newsletter, always full of money saving tips, coupons and recipes.  Post shopping trip, I sat down at my desk and began thumbing through the pages, where towards the end of the circular I saw a recipe that looked healthy and delicious - Apple-Cinnamon Oat Squares.  With no added sugar and something that was easy to make and a perfect "grab-and-go" in the mornings, I thought it was worth a try.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups 365 Everyday Value Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Everyday Value Organic Steel Cut Oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 (about 1 lb.) Pink Lady apples, cored and grated

Steps:  

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl
  3. Transfer to a parchment paper or foil lined 9in baking pan, pressing down and smoothing out the top
  4. Bake until firm and golden brown, about 1 hour
  5. After it's cooled, cut into squares to serve warm or at room temperature

*The recipe lists the Whole Foods brand, which I used, but I assume a comparable product would serve the same purpose in the recipe.  

What I learned: 

  • I used one Braeburn apple (as it was what I had in the house) in place of the 2 Pink Lady apples, as noted above and it worked just as well. 
  • Be careful when grating the apple - I grated my thumb a few times!
  • Substituting the Almond milk for another kind of milk (dairy, soy, rice) would work well, but I recommend sticking to the steel cut oats over Quick oats
  • I like my oatmeal relatively bland in the morning - plain oatmeal, made with water and a few frozen blueberries thrown in- and I thought this recipe was bland.  This is not a sweet, oatmeal raisin cookie type recipe, but literally tastes like a bowl of oatmeal formed into a bar.  If you enjoy your oatmeal on the sweet side, than I would drizzle some honey on top of the bars after they have come out of the oven. 
  • I keep mine in the refrigerator, heated in the microwave if you would prefer them warm. 
Enjoy!