2 o'clock is snack time at our house (or lunch time if you are Enna and just waking up from nap time.) This is the time that Finn, if he has eaten a decent lunch (which he does most days), gets to eat a treat. For the longest time, this was a Larabar or a Kind bar, or something equally exorbitant. I placated myself by saying that it was the one thing I didn't have to make, when I made everything else. However, when a trip to the store to buy said treats tallied up to the same amount as a week's worth of groceries, frugality won over convenience.
I pieced this recipe together from various sources. What I was looking for was a thick, chewy oat bar. I didn't quite want a thick granola bar as those end up being too sweet. I wanted something like a Bobo's Oat Bar but without the $2.50 price tag. This is close, but no copycat. I think the Bobo bar uses a portion, if not all, of steel cut oats. Also, it is probably mechanically pressed down so that there is less crumbling. Regardless, I am really pleased with these. So pleased, that I have made them numerous times. One of these days, I will start playing around with different flavor combinations. That is, if I can break myself away from the tart fruit and chocolate combo. Like the Bobo bar, they are not very sweet. You can of course vary the sweetness to your liking by increasing/decreasing the honey.
I have also made these dairy free by using Spectrum shortening in place of butter, and coconut milk in place of the regular milk. They were still tasty, but I really prefer the dairy version better.
Thick Trail Mix Oat Bars
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
6 ounces honey
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups rolled oats
6.7 ounces of an all-purpose, gluten-free flour (I use this one)*
2.3 ounces almond flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup raisins
1. Mix together the flour, oats, salt, baking soda, and xanthan gum.
2. Cream butter and honey. Add the eggs one at a time. Then add the milk and vanilla.
3. Add in the dry ingredients from step one. Once incorporated, add in the chocolate chips, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and raisins.
4. Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper and press in the batter. It will be really thick.
4. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. (Over baking will make them dry and more crumbly). Let cool, remove from pan, and cut into squares.
*To make this using regular, glutenous flour, use 9 ounces of all-purpose flour and omit the xanthan gum.