But not because the bars weren’t photogenic.
They just didn’t have the substance to back up their looks.
To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the first few bars I tried. The bars weren’t really sweet at all and the filling had that cornstarch feel to it. I didn’t think it was fit for dessert. Adapted from Fat Free Vegan, these blueberry oat bars boasted no refined flour, no white sugar, no added fat, no soy, and no gluten. Another healthy recipe that fools you, I thought. The decreased sweetness was partly my fault, though, as I substituted brown sugar for agave nectar in a 1:1 ratio without modifying the liquid content, which is a no-no. Who knew agave nectar was 1/3 more sweet than brown sugar? I digress…
Then I wrapped one up and brought it with me on my long bicycle rides. And this is where the bar shined. It travelled well, in spite of the gooey centre, and its lack of sweetness was perfect. I am figuring out what I like to eat pre-, post- and during exercise, and I am definitely shunning sweet, dry and heavy dishes. These bars were perfect specifically because they were not that sweet, they were very moist and they were filled with carbs (only 1g of fat per serving).
I had already eaten 2/3rds of the bars before I decided to snap some photos. Thank goodness I still had some left!
2 cups blueberries
1/4 cup agave nectar or honey (I used brown sugar)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with enough water or juice to form a smooth paste (I would decrease this next time, and not use a lot of water!)
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (6 ounces) unsweetened apple sauce (I used sweetened)
6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) agave nectar or honey (I used brown sugar)
6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Oil an 8×8-inch baking dish.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, brown sugar or agave nectar, and juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, stir in the vanilla and the cornstarch mixture. Continue to stir as the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Put 1 1/2 cups of the oatmeal into a blender and grind it to a fine powder. Pour it into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the remaining oatmeal, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Stir in the apple sauce, brown sugar or agave nectar, water, and vanilla, and mix well.
4. Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing well to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon the blueberry filling over the batter, and cover the blueberries with the remaining batter.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.
Makes 16 bars.
Each bar: 102 calories, 21.5g carbs, 1.1g fat, 2.2g protein