NUTTY BROWN SUGAR OATMEAL COOKIE BARS
By Laura D. Field of Gluten & Milk Free Lifestyle
A healthy option for weekend hikes, game nights, and any other busy time where you will not have time to stop to eat a healthy dinner. Our personal goal is to avoid the fast food chains.
Oatmeal cookies have always been one of my favorite cookies. I like the texture and the variations that can be made using oats. In addition, I am always on the lookout for a quick granola style cookie or bar that would provide nutritional benefits along with fulfilling ones hunger while hiking or traveling.
I have not had much luck finding such a “quick fix” through the retail avenue that did not incorporate additives that I was not interested in, or the cost was beyond my interest in expanding our grocery budget for.
So, with a little experimentation, I came up with a recipe that actually fills you after 1-2 cookies or one bar. This recipe can be made into 3″ cookies or 2″ x 3″ bars. But please note, this recipe makes a LOT, so if you use your KitchenAid mixer, expect it to be a full bowl mixture.
Last night, this batch with all the ingredients listed, made a 9″ x 13″ pan for bars, and 4 dozen cookies. Ultimately this will make 6-8 dozen cookies or 2 – 9″ x 13″ pans for bars. After they have cooled, I place them into small freezer bags with either 6 cookies or 6 bars, then freeze.
I freeze for two reasons:
- With just my husband and I at home, it makes better sense to keep snack type items like these, in a place where they will remain fresh the longest. Nothing bothers me more than to see food wasted.
- Since the purpose of this food item is to provide an occasional healthy snack for those hectic days where one can go from one project to the next without stopping, or weekends where we might be out hiking, canoeing, gardening, etc. this allows us the luxury of being able to pack something that is nutritious and filling, as well convenient.
I hope you enjoy this healthy oatmeal cookie options:
- 1 cup milk free butter substitute such as Earth Balance
- 2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 whole eggs
- 1-1/2 cup All-purpose Gluten-Free flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill
- 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 3 cups Old Fashioned Oats
- 1 cup fine coconut flakes
- 1 cup shelled, sliced almonds
- 1 cup craisins
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer (or using a hand mixer) beat together the milk free butter substitute and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each one.
Mix together the flour, baking soda, coconut and xanthan gum in a medium sized bowl. Add it into the creamed mixture a little at a time so that it mixes well. Mix in the oats until just combined, followed by the sunflower seeds, craisins, and almonds,.
BAKING THE COOKIES:
- Drop by spoonfuls of dough onto your cookie sheet (some might prefer to use parchment paper while others might desire to grease their pans), spacing them a couple inches apart.
- Bake for 12-13 minutes. This will provide a nice chewy, yet a full flavor crunch type cookie.
- Let them cool for about 5 minutes before cooling on a cookie rack.
- Once cooled (overnight) place in freezer bags of 6 cookies each. Or, if you have a large family, sort and freeze that would best work for your family.
BAKING THE BARS:
- I grease my glass baking dish with either coconut oil or when I have it on hand some coconut spray. Not everyone enjoys coconut, so use the option that best fits your taste bud.
- Let them cool in the pan until the pan is cold. I cooled overnight.
- Once cooled, cut into approximately 2″ x 3″ bars and freeze 6 to each freezer bag or what works best for your family.
NOTE: Although I might keep a few out for the next few days, this makes enough that one could plan on freezing half and bringing the other half to a social event.
Eat healthy & enjoy life,
Laura – Gluten & Milk Free Lifestyle
Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor