Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

After a short hiatus from baking, I’ve lured myself back into the baking world. Usually my inspiration for a recipe comes from the flavors that I’m craving. This time it came from a  mistakenly purchased tub of Greek yogurt. While Greek yogurt is one of the many health foods that I spoil myself with every day, only the non-fat or low-fat varieties satisfy my stomach – the others proving to be too rich. Since I stick to the same brands of Fage and Chobani usually, I decided to give Oikos a try per a friend’s recommendation. With good intentions to try a new brand, I mistakenly bought the whole milk variety.

Instead of throwing away the tub of yogurt, I decided that perfect use of it would be in baking. So many baking recipes call for tons of butter or vegetable oil, when yogurt is a sufficient substitute. Hence, we get the cranberry oatmeal bars. They have a dense oatmeal base and a thick, rich yogurt topping. Friends commented that they are so delicious and rich that they couldn’t even consider having another piece, yet others came calling back to me for another piece the next day.

Ironically enough, the recipe was adapted from one taken from Chobani.com.

For the oat-based crust…

~ 1 cup all-purpose flour
~ 1 cup quick-cooking oats
~ 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
~ 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
~ 1/4 tsp baking soda
~ 1/4 tsp salt
~ 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
~ 3 tbsp vegetable oil
~ 3 tbsp orange juice

For the yogurt topping…

~ 3/4 cup Oikos plain whole milk Greek yogurt
~ 1/2 cup sugar
~ 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
~ 1 large egg white
~ 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
~ zest of 1/2 orange

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly coat an 11×7-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Whisk together the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
3. In a small bowl whisk together the butter, vegetable oil and orange juice. Add the juice mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until crumbly.
4. Reserve 1/2 cup of mixture for later. Press rest of mixture into pan and up sides, using bottom of a measuring cup to even out crust.
5. Whisk yogurt, sugar, flour and egg white in a medium bowl. Stir in cranberries and orange zest.
6. Spread over crust in even layer. Sprinkle reserved oat mixture on top.
7. Bake until edges are golden-brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool completely and slice into bars.

If you’re looking for a healthy yet rich recipe high in protein and calcium, these cranberry oatmeal bars are sure to please. They are quite sweet so if you’d like to reduce the amount of sugar in the yogurt topping, I would recommend adding only 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup. To give it a little more of a kick and flavor, you can add some sprinkle of cinnamon on top before baking.

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