Fruit and Nut Caramel Oat Bars

beauty shot

This oat bar is definitely not boring. We put a few of our favourite things into these oat bars and the outcome is absolutely delicious. We’re sure you’ll love them for any occasion.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 bars

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 93 g / 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 93 g / 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 162 g / 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 4 g / 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 4 g / 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 5 g / 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 g / 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 227 g / 1 cup Mirage margarine, cold
  • 99 g / 1 cup rolled oats
  • 35 g / 1/4 cup almonds/pecans, roughly chopped

For the Filling:

  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and diced into 1/2″ (1.3 cm) chunks
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp pure almond extract
  • 2 g / 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 43 g / 1/3 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 240 ml / 1 cup water
  • 15 ml / 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 g / 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 50 g / 1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the Caramel Sauce:

  • 108 g / 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 120 ml / 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 28 g / 2 tbsp Mirage margarine
  • 4 ml / 3/4 tsp pure almond extract
  • 3 ml / 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 g / 1/8 tsp salt
  • Directions

    For the Crust:

    1. Preheat oven to 350°C (180 °F). Grease and line a 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 centimetre) pan, leave about a 2 inch (5 centimetre) overhang on all sides.
    2. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon, until well combined. Add Mirage margarine. With a pastry blender or 2 butter knives, cut the Mirage margarine into the dry ingredients until mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add oats and nuts. Cut oats and almonds into the flour mixture, until evenly distributed.
    3. dry mixture

      dry mix combined

      dry mix with margarine

      mixture with nuts

    4. Take half of the mixture and press into the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes to set. Take out of oven. Cool on a cooling rack. Set aside the other half of the mixture for the topping. In the meantime prepare the filling.
    5. mixture in baking pan

    For the Filling:

    1. Peel, core and dice apples into 1/2 inch (1.3 centimetre) chunks. Place into a medium bowl. Sprinkle with almond extract and cinnamon. Toss to coat. Set aside in fridge.
    2. apples with cinnamon

    3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine chopped dried apricots, water, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until apricots are softened and almost all the water is absorbed, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool. When slightly cooled, blend with an immersion blender or in a food processor until smooth.
    4. fruit over heat

      apricots with absorbed water

    5. Fold apricots and lemon zest into the apples. Add sugar. Mix to combine. Spread filling evenly over the baked crust. Crumble the remainder of the oat mixture over the filling.
    6. crumble before baking

    7. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. In the mean time, prepare the caramel sauce.
    8. Take out of oven. Cool completely before drizzling with caramel sauce. Cut into bars.
    9. bars

    For the Caramel Sauce:

    1. In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, cream, and Mirage margarine. Place over medium-low heat and cook until sauce thickens about 3 minutes. Once thickened, stir in extracts. Take off heat. Stir in salt. Let cool slightly. Drizzle over cooled squares.
    2. caramel sauce

      caramel sauce

    Chef Notes

    • Replace apricot puree with 1/2 cup apple sauce.
    • Substitute dried apricots with dried dates or figs or a mixture of dried fruit.
    • Chill cooled baked bars in the fridge for 30 minutes before slicing.
    • Use a sharp serrated knife to cut into squares/bars.
    • If there is any leftover caramel sauce, keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Heat gently to make it runny again.
    • Keep squares/bars in the fridge in an airtight container, separated by parchment or wax paper.

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