Amazing flavours, healthy ingredients and easy to put together! And you can use fresh or frozen raspberries or some other fruit, so it’s a versatile guilt-free treat. Well, after eating five squares you should maybe try for moderation. Ahem. But oats are good for you even if you’re not a horse. The tasty bottom layer involves cashew or almond butter, rolled oats and homemade oat flour (made by processing rolled oats). The fruity middle of raspberries crushed with yummy homemade apple purée provides an amazing contrast. Then there’s the lovely crumble topping with your choice of nuts or seeds like flaked almonds, sesame seeds, chopped pistachios and of course a few more rolled oats. Yes, lots of oats! I’ve just seen an article ‘Oats – The World’s Healthiest Foods‘ so hurray!! There’s a little vanilla, cinnamon and salt and these squares are very slightly sweetened with tablespoons of honey or maple syrup. Tada! Yummy raspberry, oat and nut squares! 🙂
Adaptations and options
These are adapted from a recipe in Inman’s Clean Cakes book. I’ve reduced the quantities of cinnamon and salt, then substituted in some ingredients that are easier to find, making my own flour from rolled oats and sweetening with a reduced quantity of honey or maple syrup instead of coconut nectar (hands up if you know what that is!!) and cornflour (cornstarch) rather than arrowroot. In my second batch I used just honey as a sweetener, and the cornflour so they were a little denser and less crumbly but my German cake tester (sorry, friend I mean) said she preferred them as they didn’t just melt in the mouth but had more bite to them. My French cake tester loved the first very moist and crumbly lot. Personally I thought they were all amazingly delicious. I don’t think you can go wrong. 🙂
So feel free to play around with this recipe and adjust according to your taste and kitchen cupboard. For example, I used cashew instead of almond butter because that’s what was in the fridge. Frozen raspberries work perfectly and there are lovely ones in Lidl but I’m thinking of making my next bars with just homemade apple purée (320g). Yum. The optional pistachios were there to add green colour but they’re very optional. Finally some sesame seeds were added because I love them, and they’re healthy so great!
By the way, if you buy gluten-free oats and use maple syrup (and not honey) then your squares will be gluten-free and vegan.
Homemade apple purée (makes double the quantity you need)
- 2 medium-big apples (reinettes, cox or some other sharp tasty apple), 460-500g/about 1lb
Crumble preparation mix
- 50g/generous 1/2 cup flaked almonds (skinless)
- 20g/1/4 cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons (14-16g) toasted white sesame seeds, optional
- 1 tbsp roughly chopped pistachio nuts, optional
Raspberry and apple layer
- 200g/7oz (1 and 1/3 cups) fresh or frozen raspberries, defrosted
- 120g/1/2 cup unsweetened homemade apple purée
- 1 tbsp honey or pure maple syrup
Gluten-free ‘pastry’ layer and assembling
- Dry ingredients
- 120g/1 cup oat flour (buy or make it by blending rolled oats until very fine)
- 100g/1 cup + 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 3 teaspoons/9g cornflour (cornstarch) or arrowroot
- 1 tsp/6g baking powder
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 120g/scant 1/2 cup cashew or almond butter (pure, for example from the health food shop)
- 50g/3 tbsp maple syrup and 35g/2 tbsp honey – you can also have only maple syrup (85g/5 tbsp) or only honey (85g/5 scant tbsp)
- fine freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
- seeds scraped from 1 vanilla pod OR 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- your raspberry and apple purée (prepared earlier – see above)
- your crumble mix (prepared earlier – see above)
Note: the pastry layer will weigh about 440g, so 3/4 of it will be about 330g for the bottom layer. Then there’s about 110g for the crumble mix on top.
When baked the top could be a bit dark – leave it in the oven longer if necessary. I think it’s better for it to be a bit darker and tasty (instead of too light), but just make sure it doesn’t taste burnt! 🙂
Leave to cool completely in the tin then cut with a serrated bread knife. I cut mine into 16 squares. Hmm, it looks like some have been eaten and disappeared and one’s definitely had a bite taken out of it!!! lol.
Storing and eating
Store in an airtight container in the fridge, and eat within 5 days. They freeze well. They also love travelling, a lovely energy treat for packed lunches, picnics and climbing trips. Or maybe to wake you up when you feel your head is about to drop onto a computer keyboard.
These squares were beloved by all my cake testers, whether they usually enjoy healthy or decadent cakes. Surprisingly they’re eye-popping, ‘Wow! These are the best ever!’ kind of treats. That was the reaction after a tapas meal in a local Gràcia square here in Barcelona and between climbing up and down rock faces, as we like to do.
With naturally gluten-free and vegan options and simply delicious, these could interest you perhaps. Want to try some?
I’ll just get a plate for you – a very nice plate, mum gave it to me. 🙂
Farewell for now sweet healthy or almost-healthy reader! Have a lovely week ahead with tasty treats and some happy baking and eating! 🙂 Lili x