Richly sweetened with all-fruit preserves, these bars are a fun treat for kids and adults alike. Serve them with tea for a grown-up treat, or as an after school snack with almond or other non-dairy milk, or vegan hot cocoa. If you bake them in the evening, they can serve as a quick breakfast with a fruit smoothie. Of course, you can replace the peanut butter with another, favorite nut butter.
Makes: 8 or 9 bars
- ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ¼ cup quick-cooking oats
- ¼ cup natural granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅓ cup applesauce
- ¼ cup natural peanut butter, at room temperature
(smooth or chunky, nice and flowing)
- 2 to 4 tablespoons nondairy milk (rice, almond, etc.), as needed
- ¾ to 1 cup all-fruit preserves (strawberry, peach,
apricot, or any favorite variety)
- ⅓ cup quick-cooking oats
- 1 tablespoon natural granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons neutral vegetable oil (like safflower)
or melted Earth Balance
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Stir together.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the applesauce, peanut butter, and 2 tablespoons of the nondairy milk. Stir together until the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly combined. This should be a stiff batter, but add a little more nondairy milk if the dry ingredients aren't well coated.
Transfer the batter into a lightly oiled 9- by 9-inch baking pan, and pat in evenly with the back of a spatula. Carefully spread the preserves evenly over the batter.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the topping is golden, and a knife inserted comes out without any of the batter.
Allow to cool until just warm, then cut into four sections in one direction, and 2 sections in the other to make 8 bar-shaped pieces, or just cut into 9 even squares.