Monday, March 17, 2008

Strawberry Oatmeal Squares

Mike of Mike's Table is hosting the Strawberry Seduction food challenge. As a fellow Floridian, I can identify with his story of finding himself with six pounds of ripe Florida strawberries. I myself have not been able to resist buying whole flats of our lesser known winter/early spring fruit. So we have been happily eating strawberries practically every day since around Christmas. Usually we eat them with breakfast, sliced on top of oatmeal or pancakes or stirred into Kefir or yogurt. But we have also had them with many desserts, from tarts to tapioca pudding.

The recipe I share now is for Strawberry Oatmeal Squares, which makes a 9x13 sized yummy dessert or decadent breakfast. The added benefit is that it calls for a separate recipe of Strawberry Sauce. If you have a surplus of strawberries on hand, I recommend making a larger batch of the sauce to have plenty of leftovers to freeze. The leftover Strawberry Sauce can be used as a topping for waffles, pancakes, yogurt, ice cream, etc.

Strawberry Sauce

  • 1 quart of strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • agave nectar or sweetener to taste (amount needed will depend on how sweet the berries are and how sweet you want the sauce)

1. Wash and core the berries. Blend in a blender or food processor half of the berries. Set aside. Slice the other half of the berries into big chunks. Set aside.

2. Place 1/4 cup of the puree in a small bowl and stir the arrowroot or cornstarch into it. Place the rest of the pureed strawberries in a saucepan and turn on the heat. Add the cornstarch mixture and stir. Once everything is well combined with no lumps, stir in the sliced strawberries. Sweeten to taste, a tablespoon at a time.

3. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Lower heat a bit, continue stirring, and it should thicken a bit within a minute. Remove from heat. Add the lemon juice and stir. Set aside to cool. What is left of the sauce after making the Oatmeal Squares can be used as a breakfast or ice cream topping.

Strawberry Oatmeal Squares

  • Strawberry Sauce (see above recipe)
  • 10 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey (if you prefer to use granulated sugar, you probably will want to increase amount; the original recipe calls for 1 cup of brown sugar, which I think is way too sweet)

  • 2 cups oats or quick oats
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup other flour (all purpose or spelt or barley, etc)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Grease a 9x13 pan. Preheat oven to 375 F. Beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sweetener, beat well. Add the vanilla. Beat well.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients (oats, flours, baking soda, salt). Add to the butter mixture, stirring until it resembles a coarse meal. It will be dry, but if it seems way too dry with a lot of the flour left with nothing to hold to, add a tablespoon of warm water.

3. Press half of the oatmeal mixture into the pan. Set the other half of the mixture aside. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the crust looks puffed.

4. Spread some strawberry sauce evenly over the baked crust. You don't need to use all of the sauce, only what is needed to cover the crust. If you have a lot of fresh strawberries on hand, you could optionally also place some fresh sliced strawberries on top (as pictured above). Then cover the strawberries with the rest of the oatmeal mixture, gently pressing it in place.

5. Bake again, this time for about 15 to 17 minutes, until golden. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares.


Mike of Mike's Table said...

Kathleen, this looks fantastic! Thank you for your entry, it looks delicious! I've been squeaking by on some mediocre granola bars this week for breakfast and this looks much more like what I'd rather be eating! This one will be on the to-do list this weekend.

Kevin said...

Strawberry oatmeal squares sound like a great idea! They look good!