The Right Oat-titude

When life throws spitballs at you and all you want to do is punch it in the face and crawl back into your warm bed pretending someone hit the pause button on the remote that controls you, taking it as easy as you can seems like the wisest thing to do.

Oat bars fit this moody bill rather well because they’re both lazy and easy. Kind of like granola baked in a single dish with no stirring required. Chewy, a bit crumbly, sweet and salty, open to your own interpretation as far as add-ins go.

I like to use these (and sometimes granola) to make overnight oats. The various textures hit the right spot, and the fact both these bars and granola are baked intensifies the flavor.

Simply crumble the bars (or place the granola) into a bowl, stir with nondairy yogurt and nondairy milk, add fruit of choice, and let stand covered in the fridge while you snooze peacefully, only to wake up to a perfect bowl of goodness the following morning. Your oats will have puffed up with pride during that time at the thought of keeping you full and focused.

Crumbly Good Oat Bars:

210 g (10 tablespoons) agave nectar
50 g (1/4 cup, not packed) light brown sugar
14 g (1 tablespoon) solid coconut oil
335 g (4 cups, make the last one heaping) Dan-D-Pak oatmeal
(See note at the bottom of this post. Use 3 3/4 cups quick oats if you don’t have these, add 1/4 cup flax meal to them.)
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink sea salt or regular sea salt
125 g unsweetened coconut flakes, pulsed a few times in a food processor to make them into a more manageable size
60 g pepitas, roasted & salted
60 g chopped dates
30 g chopped nuts of choice

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Line a baking pan with parchment paper: I use a 10 x 7-inch (25 x 18-cm) ceramic dish, but an 8-inch (20-cm) square dish would be fine too.

Combine agave, sugar and oil in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook a couple of minutes to let the sugar dissolve.

Place remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour sugar concoction on top and stir until all the ingredients are coated. Press down evenly into the prepared pan, using an extra piece of parchment or a slightly dampened hand so that the mixture doesn’t adhere to whatever you use to press it down.

Bake 16 to 18 min, or until golden brown on top. Carefully use the parchment paper that’s peeping through to transfer the bar onto a wire rack to cool completely. Store the cooled oat “cake” in the fridge, in an airtight container. Cut into bars or tear chunks as needed. As usual, I love to eat this cold from the fridge.

Yield: At least 12 servings

I’m usually not keen on advertising the use of a single specific brand, but hear me out on that one: a few months ago, I ordered Dan-D-Pak cashew butter after doing some online research to make sure it was made of nothing but cashews and salt.

When I received my order, the label on the jar listed partially hydrogenated oils, so I sent an email to the company. The owner himself wrote back minutes later. He refunded my money and even sent a huge care package. Now if this isn’t what you call great customer service, you’re off my BFF list.

He recently posted a happy update on the cashew butter sitch.