We are at one of those in-between points in the winter with Valentine’s Day behind us and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations ahead. It’s a perfect time to do a little weekend baking! These bars could serve double-duty as a breakfast bite or a snack, and they are made with a number of good-for-you ingredients including walnuts, blueberries, and oats. Walnuts are nutritional powerhouses packed with omega-3s and are a good source of copper and manganese while being low in cholesterol and sodium. Blueberries are no slouch, either—they are a very good source of vitamins K and C, manganese, fiber, and copper. Plus those workhorse oats have digestive and heart-health benefits.
Cookbook author Darra Goldstein, who contributed this recipe to Real Food, said she was inspired by pastry chef Karen DeMasco’s granola bar recipe as she created these luscious dessert squares. Try to resist cutting into the squares until they’re completely cool, she suggests, otherwise they won’t hold together.
Makes 16 squares
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
¹⁄3 cup sugar
¹⁄3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
scant ¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons melted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil (if using foil, spray it lightly with nonstick spray). On a baking sheet, toast the walnuts briefly, for 5 minutes, until they begin to release fragrance. Set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, stir together the ¼ cup sugar and the cornstarch. Stir in the blueberries and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
4. Meanwhile, stir together the flour, oats, ¹⁄3 cup sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, and walnuts. Stir in the melted butter until well combined.
5. Press two-thirds of the oat mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the cooled blueberries evenly over this layer, and then sprinkle the berries with the remaining oat mixture.
6. Bake at 350°F until golden, about 45 minutes. Allow the dessert to cool completely in the pan, about 3 hours. Using the edges of the parchment or foil, lift the entire dessert out onto a cutting board and cut into squares to serve.
Nutrition info (per serving): Calories 241 (115 From Fat); Fat 13g ( Sat . 6g); Chol 23mg; Sodium 213mg; Car B 29g; Fiber 2g; Protein 3g