MAKE IT CUTE
Apple cinnamon crunch bars
A great after-school snack or light breakfast, these crunch bars combine two of my favorite fall flavors: cinnamon and apples and will have your whole house filled with the scent of the season. If I'm feeling a little fancier, I'll crumble a bar on top of some yogurt and fresh fruit for a satisfying snack. The bars are also fabulous crumbled atop ice cream; add caramel sauce for a truly fabulous dessert.
2 1/2 cups old fashion oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup walnuts, almonds or pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 apple sauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup dried apples, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking dish with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium sized skilled combine oats, salt, and 2 tablespoons canola oil. Cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring regularly. The oats should become fragrant and slightly browned in color. Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl combine brown sugar, honey, applesauce, cinnamon and remaining canola oil. Set aside.
Put the nuts in a blender or food processor and pulse to a
fine mill. Add chopped nuts to the liquid mixture. Next, place toasted
oats in the food processor or blender and pulse just a few times. They should
still retain much of their texture. Add oats and apples to the rest of the
ingredients. Stir well and pour into prepared baking dish. Using a rubber
spatula or clean hands press the mixture into a thin even layer.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. They should be lightly browned but not
burnt. The bars will still be soft upon removal from the oven; they will harden
during cooling. When cool, cut into bar sized pieces using a large chef's
knife. Store in the fridge to maintain optimum crunchiness.
Variation: For peanut butter crunch bars, reduce amount of oats by 1/2 a cup, replace nuts with peanuts, and replace 1/4 cup of the canola oil with peanut butter.
Crumble crunch bars with fruit and yogurt for an easy and delicious parfait, pictured above.
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