These are bursting with flavour, chock-full of healthy ingredients and easy to put together with raspberries and apples or other fruit like cherries, apricots and peaches to make a versatile guilt-free treat. Still, it’s probably better not to eat more than five squares in one sitting. Ahem (don’t look at me!). This recipe was first published on the blog four years ago but I’ve just spotted it again, realised how much I miss these and updated the illustrations, making some of them printable and a little clearer for this repost. I’ll be making them again when it’s less hot here in Barcelona! Please let yourself be tempted. They’re delicious: the base layer has cashew or almond butter, rolled oats and homemade oat flour; the fruity filling of raspberries crushed with apple purée provides a brightly yummy contrast; the crumble nut and seed topping is lovely and crunchy with flaked almonds, sesame seeds, chopped pistachios and more rolled oats. Yes, lots of oats! By the way, here’s an article if you’re interested: Oats – the World’s Healthiest Foods. Hurray!! These favourite treats are flavoured with vanilla, cinnamon and salt and lightly sweetened with honey or maple syrup. Tada! Yummy raspberry, oat and nut squares! 🙂
Adaptations and options
The squares are adapted from a recipe in Inman’s Clean Cakes book. I’ve reduced the quantities of cinnamon, salt and unrefined sugar, as well as substituting with ingredients that I could find more easily: my oat flour is homemade, from rolled oats, there’s honey or maple syrup instead of coconut nectar, and cornflour (cornstarch) rather than arrowroot. The batch with just honey and cornflour were a little denser and less crumbly, with more bite, which my German friend preferred. My French cake tester loved the first very moist crumbly squares. Personally I loved them all. I don’t think you can go wrong. 🙂
Feel free to play around with this recipe and adjust to your taste and kitchen cupboard. I used cashew instead of almond butter because that’s what was in the fridge. Frozen raspberries work perfectly. I’m also thinking of making my next squares with homemade apple or peach and apricot purée. Yum. The pistachios were there to add green colour but they’re optional. I added sesame seeds because I love the taste (plus they’re healthy) but you could add chia or pumpkin seeds!
If you buy gluten-free oats and use maple syrup (and not honey) your squares will be gluten-free and vegan.
Here’s a printable summary (click on image) of the preparation stage and different elements for the middle and top layer.
Keep scrolling down for the individual bigger illustrations and more details.
Homemade apple purée (makes double the quantity you need) – or buy good-quality added-sugar free purée
- 2 medium-big apples (reinettes, cox or some other sharp tasty apple), 460-500g/about 1lb
Crumble prep 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’ 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
- raspberry and apple purée (prepared earlier)
- crumble mix (prepared earlier)
Here’s the printable illustrated recipe (click on image):
- Whisk dry ingredients in small-medium bowl to combine.
- In separate big bowl whisk together nut butter, maple syrup and/or honey, lemon zest and vanilla.
- Add dry ingredients to big bowl and stir together with rubber spatula or spoon then knead lightly with fingertips until just combined. Don’t overwork (don’t stir or knead for a long time).
- Flatten 3/4 of pastry into prepared baking tin for base layer. Return 1/4 to big bowl.
- Spread raspberry and apple purée evenly over pastry for middle layer.
- Mix crumble preparation with remaining 1/4 of pastry until just combined. Don’t overwork.
- Spread the crumble preparation over the purée for top layer. Press in lightly.
- Bake 15 mins in middle of pre-heated oven then take out and press in lightly again.
- Bake further 10-15 mins until golden brown, or a little longer.
Note: the pastry weighs about 440g, so 3/4 is around 330g for the bottom layer, leaving 1/4 (110g) for the crumble mix on top.
Leave a little longer in the oven for a darker top if you like. I prefer them a bit darker and tasty (rather than too light) but not burnt of course. 🙂
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 and are a lovely energy treat for packed lunches, picnics and climbing trips.
These squares were loved by all my cake testers, whether they usually enjoy healthy or decadent cakes. Surprisingly, they’re an eye-popping ‘Wow! These are the best ever!’ kind of treat. That was the reaction after a tapas meal in a local Gràcia square here in Barcelona and between climbing up and down rock faces – update: I miss those days! Hope to get back to climbing at some point. 🙂
Simply delicious raspberry oat and nut squares with naturally gluten-free and vegan options. Want to try some?
I’ll just get a plate for you – a very nice one from mum. 🙂
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
P.S. Hope you don’t mind this repost. I’m finding some of my recipes are getting so lost in cyberspace that I’m forgetting them; might occasionally look at and whip up old favourites again (and republish, making illustrations printable – editing or re-doing where needed).
Wishing you peace, strength and good fortune during these lengthening difficult times. Take care. 😘