Oatmeal Raisin Bars

Oatmeal Raisin SquaresNeed a fast treat that’s sturdy and can be done in less than an hour? I have needed this special something several times in the last few weeks of summer, so this recipe has been a lifesaver. It gets to the oven quite quickly, bakes, and then is easy to take to the lake, camping, for a picnic, or just to have around the house as friends are stopping in. I also love that it’s mostly whole grain and since I don’t think butter is all that bad for people (in moderation, of course), I think this is really a great treat. Hope someone else loves it too! This recipe came from an old Everyday Food magazine.

Oatmeal Raisin Bars

  • 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 c. packed light-brown sugar (I’ve also substituted for 1/2 c. honey, and it works fine, too)
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon [I use 1 t., ’cause we love cinnamon]
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 1 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper. [I just line the baking pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.]

In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugars, egg, salt, and cinnamon until smooth. Add flour, oats, and raisins; fold in just until combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift bars onto a work surface; cut into 16 bars.

Not-as-Sweet Pumpkin Bread

 

Pumpkin Bread less sugarLast time I made pumpkin bread, my mouth was ringing for a bit afterwards. It just had way too much sugar in it. So, since I’m trying to cut sugar in non-conspicuous ways (I’m not against it, but I just don’t think we need to use quite so much of it!), I changed this recipe a bit, hoping it would still be sweet enough that my kids would eat the whole loaf without question. Totally worked. They didn’t suspect a thing, the loaves were beautiful and delicious, and for me, better, because without so much sugar, the cinnamon and the pumpkin tastes were heightened. I wanted to make sure to write this variation down, before I forgot it.¬†

Not-as-Sweet Pumpkin Bread

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour (the original calls for only all-purpose, which works great, of course, too)
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
4 eggs
1/2 c. white sugar (the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 c.)
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. applesauce
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two loaf pans (Pam works fine here).

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and soda. In another bowl (or in a standing mixer), beat eggs and sugars for one minute, then add the oil, combine, and then the pumpkin. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until combined, then add nuts and chocolate chips, if using.

Spoon the batter evenly into the two pans, and then bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove to a rack, and let the loaf cool for another 20 minutes or so before slicing.

Yields 2 loaves.