Vegan Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal Crumb Bars

Today I was craving some comfort. The past few weeks I’ve felt uneasy, and I can’ quite figure out why.

Easy Vegan Almond Butter Strawberry Seed Jam Bars with Crumb Topping

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.

VEGAN Strawberry Almond Butter Oatmeal crumb bars

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.

Vegan Strawberry Chia Jam

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.

Almond Butter Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Bars Spread 2

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.

Easy Cegan Almond Butter Strawberry Seed Jam Bars + Crumb Topping

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.

Vegan Gluten-free Almond Butter Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Bars**

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.

Easy Vegan Almond Butter Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Bars*

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.

vegan strawberry crumb bars with almond butter

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.

Delicious Vegan Almond Butter Strawberry Chia Seed Jam Bars

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:

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

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare a 9×9 inch pan by greasing generously or lining the pan with parchment paper.
  3. 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.
  4. Mix oat flour, baking soda, sugar, almond butter, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Press into prepared dish.
  5. Spread jam over bottom layer.
  6. Place bars in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

 

 

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

Don’t you love it when you turn on the oven, throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl, hope for the best, and the result turns out amazing? Same here. And that’s exactly what happened with these Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies today.

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

So this blog post is rather spontaneous. To be honest I’m in the middle of a few others that are more intensive in terms of scope and research required (think nutrition and sustainability).

But I’ve done so much grueling brain-sucking work this weekend I decided to take a break and make some cookie muffin things and they turned out so yummy I decided I’m extend said break by snapping a few phone photos (I need to get out my real camera…I’ve just been so damn busy the past few weeks) and toss them (figuratively) on the blog.

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

The plus of spending so much time on the grind this weekend for work/school is that I suppose I learned a lot. Including that school is hard, I have a lot of self-reflection to do with professional development/relationships, having a working kitchen is very therapeutic to my existance and that people definitely notice dog hair in jam photos. Oops.

But back to the baked goods hand: these are basically pancakes/muffin tops in cookie form due to a lack of other equipment available in my apartment. I had muffins in mind, but presently lack a muffin tin, so here we are.

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

I used some random pancake mix I had taking up space on my shelf. It’s not that I don’t love pancakes (I do), but I just usually feel silly making pancakes for myself unless I have others to share with. This is completely absurd and silly and I am worthy of pancakes but for some reason I feel like pancakes always seem too fancy for flying solo.

Anyways, here we are with pancake-mix cookie things. If you don’t have almond butter, go ahead and use melted non-dairy butter, coconut oil, or vegetable oil. All will work swimmingly.

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

These are perfect not-too-sweet mid-morning snacks. If you want them a bit sweeter add a tablespoon or two of maple syrup, agave, sugar or honey. I’m fine and dandy with them smothered in almond butter and/or some homemade chia seed jam.

Now it’s back to work for this sad old grad student. But at least this time, I have muffin cookie things! Hooray!

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

Oatmeal Almond Butter Blueberry Pancake Cookies

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Servings: about 12 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pancake or waffle mix
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter (or softened non-dairy butter, coconut oil, or vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia or flax seeds + 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper.
  2. Combine flax and water and set aside. allow to sit and thicken, at least 10 minutes.
  3. Combine pancake mix, almond butter, rolled oats, non-dairy milk, chia seeds/flax, and fresh or frozen blueberries and mix until just combine.
  4. Spoon about 2 tablespoons batter (it will be thinner than normal cookie dough) onto prepared sheet, leaving a few inches between each cookie.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and fluffy.
  6. Enjoy!

Review of Hail Merry’s Pies

Hello  from Denver, CO!

Earlier, I reviewed some vegan cheeses, and now I thought I’d review some vegan mini pies by Hail Merry’s that I’ve wanted to try for forever. I had heard they were yummy, but never went for them since they tend to be on the pricer side at my local Whole Foods (like $6 each, which for a tiny pie seems like a lot since I can gobble up desserts in 2 seconds flat).

When I saw that they were only $3.49 each at my sister’s local Natural Grocers, I excitedly decided to give them a try. I couldn’t decide which to get, so I ended up getting 3 so my sister and her husband and I could all try them.

And they were good! So good! Like, shockingly good for a tiny pie purchased from a refrigerator section of a grocery store. Here’s my full review of the 3 flavors I tried:

PS- Pardon the crappy poorly-lit photos; I ended up spontaneously reviewing this after-the-fact.

1. Vanilla Coconut Cream Pie

Review: This pie was different, and delicious! The crust of the pie was crumbly yet dense, and tasted buttery, almost like a graham cracker. I think it was made of nuts.

The filling was a luscious, rich and dense coconut cream layer, laced with hints of real vanilla flavor, and topped with unsweetened shredded coconut which added both a nice crunchy textural contrast and a neutral temperament to offset the sweet filling below.

Buy Again? Yes! This pie was my second favorite of the three we tried. I probably wouldn’t want a whole one to eat by myself, but a couple bites of this pie would be a satisfying addition to any dessert platter.

2. Dark Chocolate Almond Butter

Review: As I’m a HUGE chocolate + nut butter fan, I expected this one to be my favorite and it was the pie I was most excited to try. Sadly, I found this one a bit disappointing. Rather than eating like giant almond butter cup as I had imagined it would be, the pie had a crust and a filling that I didn’t think worked that well together.

I found the chocolate crust a bit dry and crumbly and did not find it to offer much other than a harsh dry cocoa flavor. It left me wanting a big gulp of almond milk. The filling, meanwhile, was also lackluster. The almond butter layer was quite thin and got lost between the crumbly crust and the layer of ganache-like chocolate that sat on top of it, which had the bizarre consistency of a tootsie roll.

Overall, this one just wasn’t the one for my mouth. It wasn’t bad, just not my favorite.

Buy Again? As much as I love dark chocolate and almond butter, this wasn’t my favorite, and I can’t see myself buying it again. I’d rather smear some almond butter on a piece of dark chocolate and call it a day. Oh well! You live and you learn! I’m still happy I tried it.

3. Meyer Lemon

Review: Meyer Lemon was the clear standout. This one was epic.

The tart had a thick, rich, and super lemony filling snuggled gently inside of a hearty yet crumbly crust.

The crust was perfect: nutty, crumbly yet ‘buttery’, and dense but flakey (very similar to the Vanilla Coconut Cream pie crust). It provided a nice contrast to the thick, smooth tangy filling.

Each bite was the perfect combination of smooth and crunchy, tangy and sweet, rich yet light blissful dessert delight that keeps you wanting just one more sliver…until before you know it, the pie is gone!

This pie reminded me a bit of the key lime pie at Peacefood (which is a very high compliment), and I truly believe this dessert could easily be served at a cafe or party and tasters would think it homemade!

Buy Again? YES YES YES! This is a pie I could easily eat by myself in one sitting. It is a treat for the tastebuds!

That’s all for the pies! Read my review of vegan cheeses here, and stay tuned for a full Colorado recap!

Mary Berry-Inspired Vegan Almond Cherry Cake with Lemon Glaze

So. A while back I made this cake. And it was amazing.

Vegan Almond Cherry Cake with Lemon Glaze - Kbaked.png

And for some reason, I saved the recipe as a draft, started 2 new jobs at the same time, and forgot about to post it.

But enough with my excuses; it’s time to share the recipe. I actually based this cake recipe from the beloved Mary Berry of the Great British Bake Off. Which btw is the greatest show of all times.

Kbaked_Cherries

I requested to follow Mary on Insta months ago and she never accepted. Oh well. I still gave her cake a whirl, and damn she did not let me down.

It’s super moist and delicate thanks to the non-dairy butter and almond meal, and the cherries add a beautiful sweet-tart ness.

Vegan Almond Cherry Cake Mary Berry GBBO Inspired

Cherries are one of my favorite fruits ever, so I loved them in this cake. I used frozen for this cake, although Mary Berry’s version used those syrupy jarred florescent ones. I feel comfortable with my choice. I also veganized the recipe. Sorry, Mary.

Give this cake a whirl, and let me know what you think. Tag me on Insta, or comment below.

Vegan Almond Cherry Cake Mary Berry GBBO Inspired

Vegan Cherry Almond Cake

Prep Time:  minutes
Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
Servings: about 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds or flax
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 6 ounces non-dairy butter, softened (can sub neutral oil, like canola with varied results)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3/4 cup diced fresh or frozen/thawed cherries, tossed lightly in flour

For Icing:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar

For garnish:

  • Additional 1/4 cup cherries
  • 1/4 cup diced almonds

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch bundt pan.
  2. Dice cherries and toss lightly in flour to prevent them from absorbing moisture from cake. Set aside.
  3. Combine chia seeds and flax with non-dairy milk. Set aside to congeal as an egg substitute.
  4. Combine flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, whip sugar into softened non-dairy butter with a whisk or an electric mixer. Add juice of lemon.
  6. Add non-dairy milk and chia seed mix into the non-dairy butter mix. Mix well.
  7. Fold the dry ingredients into the non-butter/sugar mixture.
  8. Fold in floured cherries.
  9. Pour batter into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean upon insertion/removal (that’s what she said?).
  10. While cake is baking, prepare icing by combining juice of one lemon with powdered sugar. Add more or less powdered sugar depending on how thick or thin you like your icing.
  11. Drizzle icing over cooled cake. Garnish with diced almonds and cherries. Enjoy!

 

Mini Vegan & Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes

Why is it that mini foods are more fun? At first it seems paradoxical, especially in a culture where bigger is better. But it’s undeniable. Mini food RULES.

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes. Easy & Gluten-Free!

You know what I mean. Mini m&ms and mini chocolate chips >>>>> than their regular sized counterparts. And whenever things are miniaturized, whether they be burgers as sliders or bite-sized cupcakes or those tiny peanut butter cups, something is always more fun about mini food.

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes! Gluten Free & easy!

I believe it has to do with food ratios and textures. Also visual appeal and general cuteness. But that’s just my two cents and super scientific take on the matter. Feel free to agree and/or disagree, my opinion is pretty much set.

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes!  easy & gluten-free

Mini foods also makes them Millie-sized, and we all know any mention or thought of my sweet pup fills my heart and soul with joy. What’ can I say? She’s just ma girl.

Easy Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes. Gluten-Free.

So the idea for mini pancakes is actually inspired by the Silver Dollar Pancakes at Trader Joe’s in the frozen section. Lots of moms tell me their kids love them. I tell them my mom loves them. Go pita, shattering stereotypes.

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes! Easy& Gluten-free

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes. Easy & Gluten-Free!

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes. Easy & Gluten-Free !

I was off work today and wanted to do something a wee bit special for breakfast. As I had the time, I decided that I was going to make banana pancakes, because 1) I love bananas and 2) I wanted to “pretend like it’s the weekend, now” as that one Jack Johnson song goes because the way my work week falls at this moment Tuesday is my Sunday aka pseudo-weekend on a weekday. Confused yet? Cool. Let’s talk pancakes.

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes. Easy & Gluten-Free

These wee babies are fluffy yet hearty, thanks to the creation of pseudo-buttermilk by combining almond milk + vinegar for a little bit of fluffy umpf, and the almond meal gives them a wonderful nutty flavor, reminiscent of banana bread with a density and satisfaction that will actually keep you full, unlike say, pancakes made with all-purpose flour.

Easy Mini  Vegan Banana Pancakes. Gluten-Free

I really loved these little guys. They are not only delicious, but adorable, and oh-so-dippable, which is an added bonus for me because I’m not a real adult yet and I really enjoy that sort of stuff / eating with my fingers. How sticky and delightful.

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes!  easy & gluten-free

Make these wee ones and enjoy them plain, or with banana slices and maples syrup. Enjoy. Eat pancakes. Be happies. Go bananas.

-Kbakes out!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 m inutes
Level: easy
makes 16-18 mini pancakes, serves two

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/3 cup almond meal (can sub more oat flour)
  • 1/2 large (or 2/3 small) very ripe banana, mashed
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (suggested: almond, coconut, soy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do; can also be omitted with slightly less fluffy results)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon almond butter or coconut oil (can sub other nut butter or nondairy spread)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

1. In a small bowl or glass, combine almond milk and vinegar and allow to curdle for a few minutes. This is optional, but making this pseudo-buttermilk increases fluffiness. 🙂

2. In a large bowl, combine oat flour, almond meal, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add mashed banana and nondairy milk and stir gently until just combined.

3. Heat electric griddle to about 300 degrees (temperature may vary greatly among griddles) or heat a small amount of non-dairy butter or coconut oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Allow to heat completely before cooking pancakes. When you flick water onto the griddle and hear a sizzle, it’s time to go.

4. Place about 1 tablespoon of batter in small circles on the griddle. When the top begins to bubble and edges begin to brown slightly, flip pancake and cook on the other side. Each side should take approximately 60-90 seconds to cook.

5. Serve with banana slices and/or real maple syrup. 🙂 Enjoy and dip away~!

Cherry Almond Vanilla Granola

Homemade granola makes me so happy. It’s so easy and fast and sounds impressive, but is a super quick thing to throw together and munch on all week long.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan && Gluten-free

I would categorize granola as something that definitely is worth making at home. There are certain things I think are definitely easier to buy. An example of this would be hummus and almond butter. I try my best, but I can never get the texture as good as the ones from Trader Joe’s. I’ll keep working on this. In the meantime, I’ll keep cranking out granolas by hand, whether they be of the Puppy Chow variety, Nutty Gingerbread Granola, or Carrot Cake Granola. Or, in this case, Cherry Almond Vanilla Granola:

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan & Gluten-free!

But homemade granola is noticeably better than store-bought. First off, it just tastes so darn fresh and wonderful. It’s also easy to customize. I like that I can add a boatload of nuts because I like a  boatload of nuts in my granola. I can also make it extra-cinnamony and not-too-sweet. And it’s wonderful and perfect and has a magnificent crunch and makes the house (or studio apartment) smell absolutely wonderful. It’s actually a staple of mine to snack on and keep around the house, which is why when the Recipe Redux challenge for May was to share a DIY household kitchen staple, I knew I had to share a recipe for granola. Easy to make, more than worth the effort, and always a delightful snack to have on hand. Yums.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan and Gluten-free

Today I was running very low on maple syrup because my mom used like, all of mine without my knowledge. I try to remind myself that she paid for my food for 18 years of me growing which couldn’t have been cheap. But then I’m usually still sad because I am emotionally attached to all of my foods. Regardless, I ended up trying to use applesauce to replace some of the syrup. I actaully really liked the result. It gives it a nice texture and good clump-age (sounds sexy, right?) and acts as a wonderful binder without giving too much sweetness to the stuff. I’d do it again.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan and Gluten-free!

So in a way it ended up being a good thing that I was low on maple syrup. Except then I ended up at Trader Joe’s on an off day (again) which is getting embarrassing. Sometimes a girl just needs to get her homemade granola fix.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan && Gluten-free

So here we go with this Cherry Almond Vanilla Granola. It’s a great combination of flavors. I really love almonds and cherries and they pair together quite well. Vanilla adds a warmth and sweetness to tie it all together.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Level: Easy

makes about 4 cups granola

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cups almonds  (I used slivered, because it was what I had, but you can use whatever)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (can sub honey)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a large bowl, combine oats, optional coconut shreds, and salt. Mix well.

3. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, apple sauce, brown sugar, vanilla and maple syrup. Mix well.

4. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and mix until well combine. The oats should all be a little wet. Transfer to a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet. Place into the oven for 30-35 minutes until nuts and oats have browned. Add cherries and almonds about 15 minutes into baking and mix well (this is optional, if desired you can add them from the get-go, I just prefer my nuts and dried cherries a little less toasted, especially if the nuts are slivered, but you can easily add them before baking). When it is done, it will still be sticky. Take it out of the oven anyways. It will harden as it cools. Enjoy 🙂

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan & Gluten-free!

For more DIY Kitchen Staples from fellow Recipe Redux members, click around below: