Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

Over 6 years ago I started teaching middle school science.  I accepted this new position to be closer to my then fiance, now husband, but was very nervous about teaching middle school-ers.  I had only taught high school science before that, so I was nervous how middle school kids would react to me.  Truth be told - after six years, I loved it!  While I will always have a fondness for high school students and the connections you build over four years, I have a soft spot for middle school now.   Being able to try new things, having them still think my jokes are somewhat funny, and helping them deal with the problems associated with growing up, are things I really enjoy. 

Every once in awhile a connection you make with a student sticks with you for a long time.  I was lucky enough to meet Whitley over 6 years ago when I started teaching middle school and she was one of my high school cheerleaders.  I've seen her grow from a young lady nervous to leave home to a confident young woman taking on the world at a University.  She's kind and patient (great qualities for a future teacher!) and genuinely cares about other people.  I can't wait to see what she's up to next!

Today she is coming to visit us and have dinner!  Since we moved she only lives about 20 minutes away and I want her to feel like she has a place she can go to when college just seems like too much.  I know I went home very frequently during college and not being able to all of the time would be hard.

To celebrate her coming for dinner, I made raspberry oatmeal bars!  Chewy, sweet, and crumbly these bars are great!  I am a big fan of raspberry and lemon and that combination in this dessert is a home-run!  I'm sure other jams would be great in this also.  These WILL be put in our dessert rotation! Plus they don't use very many ingredients.  Bonus!

To start, melt a stick of butter and stir in 1 tsp. vanilla. 

Then mix together your dry ingredients.  Flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthum gum, oats, salt and lemon zest.  I used a zester and took a couple swipes at the lemon.  I've been doing a little research about the xanthum gum.  It seems as though it's main job is to be a binder in dishes that don't use wheat flour.  I think if you used wheat flour in this instead of oat flour, you wouldn't need the xanthum gum.  Just a thought!

Stir in the melted butter mixture until the dough is crumbly.

Then press 1 cup of the mixture onto the bottom of an 8x8 inch glass pan that has been greased.  I used a cooking spray.

Now for the delicious raspberry filling.  Stir raspberry jam and 1 tsp. vanilla together.

Then spread the yummy goodness on top of the crust.

Top with the rest of the dough mixture and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is slightly brown.

These are fantastic!  I haven't been able to find a lot of recipes that are easy to make like this - but this one is!  Easy, quick and delicious.  You can't go wrong!

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars
As seen on the back of the Bob's Red Mill oat flour package

1/2 cup vegan butter melted
2 tsp. vanilla - divided
1 cup Oat flour
1 cup oats
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup raspberry jam

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees 
2.  Grease an 8x8 inch glass dish
3.  Melt butter and stir in 1 tsp. vanilla 
4.  Mix together flour, oats, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder and lemon zest in a medium sized bowl.
5.  Add melted butter mixture and stir.  Dough will be crumbly.
6.  Press 1 cup dough onto bottom of glass pan.
7.  Mix raspberry jam and 1 tsp. vanilla together in small bowl.
8.  Spread evenly over dough.
9.  Sprinkle remaining dough on top of jam mixture.  
10.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until top is slightly brown.


*** Side note.  The next time I make this I would double the amount of jelly mixture in the center.  That would make this even juicer!

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