Today I was craving some comfort. The past few weeks I’ve felt uneasy, and I can’ quite figure out why.
Perhaps it’s a combination of stress of an 18-credit graduate school load, figuring out my summer practicum, some pressing family issues, or the mundaneness I sometimes feel after working on something (whether it be school work, work work, projects, or applications for practicums) from morning til evening with little relief.
Once I cross one thing off my list, it seems, 6 more pop up.
Yesterday I took a break and got brunch at Mathew’s with my good friend Raag. The outing provided not only a delicious meal and good conversation, but a much needed break, some peace of mind, and a fleeting moment or two of comfort.
But today, I was back on the grind. And today, comfort came in the form of Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars.
I love a sweet but not-too-sweet breakfasty nibble, filled with oats, nut butters, and sometimes fruit to snack on in the afternoon with tea and to have to pack for snacks during the school week.
I wanted something with a soft bottom, a yummy fruity center, and a scrumptious oatmeal crumb topping. Crumb toppings are one life’s finest pleasures, as far as I’m concerned.
I was trying to decide what to bake when I remembered the clearance frozen strawberries I purchased at the store yesterday, and the idea for a Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Bar with an oatmeal crumb topping came to me. And just like that, I knew I had to make some.
So I set down my laptop, turned on some YouTube (currently obsessed with Buzzfeed’s Worth It), turned off the universe, and got to baking.
Few things provide me with such consistent mental release as baking does. I crave creating, and baking is a low-pressure low-stakes way to allow the creative juices to flow.
Because I adore the chewiness and flavor of oat flour, I used it to I made the bottom layer. You can substitute your favorite flour in it’s place, with varied results, if desired.
The middle layer was a play on this Easy Homemade Chia Seed Jam, swapping blueberries for strawberries, but you can use whatever fruit you’d like.
The top is a classic cinnamon oatmeal crumb topping, swapping butter with almond butter for an extra nutty scrumptious taste.
All together these Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars are a perfectly easy, scrumptious, nutritious nutty and chewy delight.
I hope you make these and I hope you love them! If you do make them, let me know in the comments below or on Insta (@katherinebaker4@)! I love hearing from you.
Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 1 12-inch square pan
Ingredients – Soft Bottom Layer:
- 2 cups oat flour
- 3 tablespoons coconut or brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or other nondairy milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Ingredients – Chia Jam Center:
- 1 recipe Easy Homemade Chia Jam (1 cup frozen fruit of choice, mashed + 2 tablespoons chia seeds)
Ingredients – Crumb Topping:
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup oat flour
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- dash of salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Prepare a 9×9 inch pan by greasing generously or lining the pan with parchment paper.
- Prepare strawberry jam by thawing frozen berries, and mashing with a fork. Add chia seeds and stir, and allow to thicken for at least 10-15 minutes. If non-chunky jam is desired, process in food processor or blender until smooth.
- Mix oat flour, baking soda, sugar, almond butter, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Press into prepared dish.
- Spread jam over bottom layer.
- Place bars in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare topping. Combine oats, oat flour, cinnamon, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Mix well. Add almond butter and use a fork fingers to form small crumbs or lumps within the oat mixture
- Open oven and sprinkle oat crumble over the jam layer and continue to bake an addition 10-15 minutes until golden and a fork or knife inserted in the center of the bars comes out clean upon removal.
- Enjoy! Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Better yet, store in the freezer and thaw or warm in microwave for 30 seconds before enjoying.