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Fresh Blueberry-Oat Bars

 

Freshly picked blueberries are my husband’s favorite summertime fruit.  Each time we go to our local blueberry patch, we make sure to pick an extra pailful of blueberries, so he has plenty to snack on.  Because these berries are so prized, whatever I make with them needs to be top-notch.  This time I decided on Fresh Blueberry-Oat Bars. These delicious bars incorporate Hodgson Mill Thick Cut Rolled Oats and Hodgson Mill White Whole Wheat Flour in a crisp, buttery crust that is topped with a lemony cream cheese layer dotted with lots and lots of plump, sweet blueberries.  I can’t think of a better way to use our fresh blueberries and also include some healthy whole grains in a sweet, summery treat.   

 

I’ve found that layered treats like these bars are an excellent place to use whole grains, like Hodgson Mill White Whole Wheat Flour and Hodgson Mill Thick Cut Rolled Oats.  With multiple flavors, whole grains can go unnoticed and even improve the taste and texture of one or more layers without detection from even the pickiest eaters.  In these Fresh Blueberry-Oat Bars, for example, the white whole wheat flour and rolled oats add more crunch and a nutty flavor as well as providing a solid base for the creamy top layer and blueberries thanks to the extra fiber they add to the crust. No one in my family knew that they were getting heart-healthy whole grains in each bite of these delicious blueberry oat bars and everyone wanted seconds.  

To make the crust, combine ½ cup white whole wheat flour, ¾ cup naturally white flour, the thick rolled oats, 2/3 cup sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.  

Hodgson Mill has a new line of whole grain rolled oats, both quick and thick cut, that are a good source of protein and fiber.  They’re also gluten, additive and preservative-free, so you know each box is filled with all-natural goodness.  I chose thick oats for this recipe, but quick oats would work just as well.  

Pour the melted butter over the top and toss together with a fork until well mixed. 

Transfer the mixture to a buttered, foil-lined 13x9-inch baking dish and gently press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan with your fingers to form the crust.  Be sure to allow the aluminum foil to hang over the ends of the pan so the excess foil can be used as handles to remove the bars from the pan later on. 

Bake the crust in a 375°F oven for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Allow the crust to cool for 30 minutes in the pan, on a wire rack. 

While the crust is cooling, prepare the filling by beating the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.  Add the remaining sugar and flour and beat until blended.  Next, mix the eggs into the mixture, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. 

Add the vanilla, lemon juice and zest, mixing until just combined.   Set aside.

Next, scatter the blueberries over the top of the cooled crust and pour the cream cheese mixture over the blueberries.  Bake the bars in a 375°F oven for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted an inch from the outer edge of the pan comes out clean.  Allow the bars to cool in the pan for 2 hours at room temperature and then transfer to a refrigerator to chill completely, approximately 3 hours.  You’ll be tempted to cut into these bars before they’re cold (the delicious aroma filling your kitchen will make it hard to wait), but a few hours in the refrigerator will help these treats reach perfection.

When ready to serve, remove the pan from the refrigerator and carefully lift the bars out of the pan using the foil-lined sides as handles.  Set the bars on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut into squares.  I was serving my bars for dessert, so I cut them into 2 ½-inch squares – a little larger than average.  Dust the cut bars with a bit of powdered sugar just before serving.

Keep any leftover bars in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Fresh, sweet blueberries nestled in a creamy, lemon, cheese-cake like filling on top of a crisp, buttery crust, enriched with healthy whole grains –these Fresh Blueberry-Oat Bars are the perfect treat to highlight one of summer’s finest fruits. Whether you decide to pick-your-own blueberries or purchase a pint at the store, be sure to make these summery sweets soon.  And don’t forget about my Strawberry Cream Pie Bars and Lemon Crumb Bars – they’re also great, summer-inspired bar recipes that include healthy whole grains in delicious way.   Enjoy!

Fresh Blueberry-Oat Bars

Ingredients

Instructions

To make the crust, combine the white whole wheat flour, ¾ cup white flour, oats, 2/3 cup sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.  Pour the melted butter over the top and toss together with a fork until well mixed.  Transfer the mixture to a buttered, foil-lined 13x9-inch baking dish and gently press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan with your fingers to form the crust.  Be sure to allow the aluminum foil to hang over the ends of the pan so the excess foil can be used as handles to remove the bars from the pan later on.  Bake the crust in a 375°F oven for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Allow the crust to cool for 30 minutes in the pan, on a wire rack. 

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.  Add 1 cup sugar and 2 Tablespoons white flour and beat until blended.  Next, mix the eggs into the mixture, one at a time, until thoroughly combined.  Add the vanilla, lemon juice and zest, mixing until just combined.   Set aside.

Next, scatter the blueberries over the top of the cooled crust and pour the cream cheese mixture over the blueberries.  Bake the bars in a 375°F oven for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted an inch from the outer edge of the pan comes out clean.  Allow the bars to cool in the pan for 2 hours at room temperature and then transfer to a refrigerator to chill completely, approximately 3 hours. 

When ready to serve, remove the pan from the refrigerator and carefully lift the bars out of the pan using the foil-lined sides as handles.  Set the bars on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut into squares.  I was serving my bars for dessert, so I cut them into 2 ½-inch squares – a little larger than average.  Dust the cut bars with a bit of powdered sugar just before serving.

Keep any leftover bars in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Notes: Other berries may be substituted for the blueberries, as long as they’re fresh and not frozen.

 

Servings

Makes approximately 16 2 ½ -inch squares

Adapted from Taste of the South

You can find Fresh Blueberry-Oat Bars and other recipes from Hodgson Mill by visiting the Recipes page.


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Author: Holly






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