Welcome to the world of Ooey Gooey Oatmeal Cherry Chocolate Chip Bars, where indulgence meets nostalgia in a single, delectable bite.
This delicious recipe combines wholesome oats, dark sweet cherries, and the undeniable allure of chocolate chips. Satisfy your sweet tooth as you enjoy a hearty breakfast, snack, or dessert.
There’s something undeniably magical about a dessert bar that strikes the perfect balance between comforting and decadent.
The smell that wafts through the kitchen when baking is just magical. It’s hard to wait for the bars to cool. Each bite is a symphony of textures and flavors, a sweet serenade to your taste buds.
The best part, if you don’t want to take the time to bake cookies, this recipe is for you. It’s like one of the best cookies you’ll eat, kind of like cherry chocolate chip cookies.
Baked Oatmeal Bars: Oatmeal Breakfast Bar
Baked oatmeal bars are a Perfect Snack, Breakfast, or Lunch Treat
It’s fall and back-to-school time. That means we are scurrying around the house in the morning with everyone trying to get to school and work on time. Yet, we want to eat a healthy breakfast. Or we want to pack a healthy snack or lunch dessert.
These are a great addition to your morning routine. They are sort of like chewy oatmeal cookies, so they work for dessert too.
We have you covered with this recipe.
Developing New Recipes: Oatmeal Cherry Chocolate Chip Bars
This recipe is basically like oatmeal in bar form for on-the-go breakfast and snacking. They are more substantial and healthier than a packaged breakfast bar and can be easily customized with different add-ins based on preferences.
Last year, I had a baby, so having easy and healthy recipes in my recipe box is a must. For me, this is better than anything I can get in the grocery store too.
I love overnight oats and wanted to make a great tasting healthy snack in individual servings. Yet, without having to get out my electric mixer, worry about mixing wet ingredients and dry ingredients. Spending the time to line baking sheets, or making cookie dough balls, waiting for the first batch of cookies to bake, and adding more to the cookie sheet. Even letting them cool on a wire rack was more than I wanted to take the time for.
So, I developed this new recipe to replace my oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and make them in a pan as bars. It is so easy to just stir everything together, bake, and let cool to room temperature. No fuss, yet the result is like an amped up soft oatmeal cookies recipe.
While I generally make this in a 9 x 9 baking dish, you can double this recipe. The only problem is that I need to make these every few days. So, you can make more at one time if needed. Just use a large bowl to mix the ingredients and bake in a prepared 9 x 13 baking pan. The baking times will be 5 to 10 minutes longer.
Freezing these in individually wrapped portions is a great way to make ahead and have a grab and go snack ready.
Just Six Simple Ingredients
Dark Sweet Cherries:
Dark sweet cherries are a delicious and nutritious fruit that adds natural sweetness, vibrant color, and a hint of tartness to your bars. I had fresh cherries, which worked really well for this recipe. However, you can use frozen cherries diced in pieces as well.
Cherries are a good source of vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamin C and anthocyanins, which may have various health benefits.
They also contain dietary fiber, which can aid digestion and help regulate blood sugar levels.
Variations. If you prefer, you can add tart cherries, raisins, dried figs, or dried apricots cut into chunks to this recipe.
Apple sauce is used as a natural sweetener and moisture enhancer in baking recipes.
It adds a subtle apple flavor and helps keep the bars moist without the need for excessive amounts of oil or butter.
Apple sauce is a healthier alternative to some traditional sweeteners, as it contains vitamins, fiber, and fewer calories.
Eggs are a common binding agent in baking and provide structure to the bars.
They also contribute protein and essential nutrients like vitamin B12, riboflavin, and selenium.
Eggs help create a tender and slightly cakey texture in baked goods.
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips:
Semi-sweet chocolate chips are a delightful addition, providing a rich, chocolatey flavor that pairs wonderfully with cherries and oats.
While chocolate chips add sweetness and decadence to the bars, they also contain antioxidants and may offer mood-boosting benefits.
Look for options with a higher cocoa content for more antioxidants and less sugar.
You can swap out the semi-sweet chips for dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, or use flavored chocolate chips too. They are all great options.
Quick oats are rolled oats that have been partially pre-cooked and flattened, making them quicker to cook and softer in texture.
They provide a hearty, oat-y flavor and contribute to the bars’ chewy texture.
Oats are a good source of dietary fiber, which can support digestive health and help you feel full.
Honey serves as a natural sweetener and binder in this recipe.
It imparts a distinct, sweet flavor and adds moisture to the bars.
While honey does contain antioxidants and trace minerals, it should be used in moderation due to its high sugar content.
Variations. If you have little ones that you prefer not to give honey to, or prefer to use other sweeteners you can use brown sugar or granulated sugar in this recipe.
When combined, these ingredients create a harmonious blend of sweet, and chocolatey flavors, all nestled within a hearty oat-based bar.
The use of cherries and apple sauce adds natural sweetness and moisture, allowing you to reduce the need for excessive sugars and fats.
Plus, you’ll enjoy the nutritional benefits that these ingredients bring to your Ooey Gooey Oatmeal Cherry Chocolate Chip Bars, making them a delicious and relatively wholesome treat.
Are baked oats healthy for you?
Baked oats can be a healthy and nutritious option, depending on how they are prepared, and the ingredients used. Oats are a whole grain that is naturally rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They contain beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber that may help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. Oats are also a good source of complex carbohydrates, which provide sustained energy.
Here are some factors to consider.
The healthiness of baked oats can vary based on the type and amount of sweeteners used. If you use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup in moderation, they can add flavor without a significant negative impact on the overall healthiness of the dish. However, using excessive amounts of sugar can lead to a high calorie and high sugar content, which may not be as healthy.
Consider the additional ingredients you mix with your baked oats. Adding fresh or dried fruits, nuts, and seeds can increase the nutritional value by providing vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. However, it’s essential to be mindful of portion sizes, as some add-ins can also contribute extra calories.
Like any dish, portion control is key to maintaining a balanced diet. Baked oats can be calorie-dense, especially when combined with sweeteners and toppings. Keeping portions reasonable can help ensure you’re not consuming too many calories in one sitting.
The toppings you choose can affect the overall healthiness of your baked oats. Opt for yogurt, fresh fruit, and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds for a nutritious finish. Avoid adding excessive amounts of sugary toppings like whipped cream or chocolate chips.
Baked oats can be a healthy and nutritious choice if prepared thoughtfully. Choosing high-quality ingredients, moderating sweeteners, and adding nutrient-rich toppings can enhance the nutritional profile of this dish. It’s a versatile option that can be customized to meet your dietary preferences and needs, making it a delicious and wholesome addition to your meal repertoire.
Are baked oats as healthy as overnight oats?
Ultimately, whether baked oats are as healthy as overnight oats depends on how you prepare them and the ingredients you use. Both can be customized to meet your dietary needs and taste preferences, providing you with a satisfying and nutritious breakfast option.
Baked oats are made by mixing oats with liquid, sweeteners, and other ingredients, and then baking the mixture in the oven until it’s set. This process typically involves some degree of cooking.
They have a firmer, more cake-like texture compared to the creamier consistency of overnight oats.
Nutritional Content. The nutritional content of baked oats can vary depending on the ingredients used. If you incorporate wholesome ingredients like oats, fruits, nuts, and minimal added sugar, baked oats can be a nutritious option. However, they may have a higher calorie content due to potential additions like butter or oil in the baking process.
Overnight oats are made by soaking rolled oats in liquid (such as milk or yogurt) along with sweeteners and flavorings. They are typically left in the refrigerator overnight (hence the name) and require no cooking.
They have a soft, creamy texture similar to traditional oatmeal but without the need for cooking.
Nutritional Content. Overnight oats can also be a nutritious choice. They provide all the nutritional benefits of oats, such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Because they are typically not baked with added fats, they may have a lower calorie content than baked oats. However, their nutritional content largely depends on the ingredients and toppings you use.
In terms of healthiness, both baked oats and overnight oats can be part of a healthy diet. The key is to choose nutrient-dense ingredients, control portion sizes, and be mindful of added sugars. Consider your preferences for texture and preparation time when deciding between the two.
Both baked oats and overnight oats can be healthy options, but they have some differences in terms of preparation and nutritional content.
Can I use Frozen Fruit With Baked Oatmeal Bars?
Yes, this recipe works really well with just about any add-ins you throw in there. Frozen fruit like blueberries, cherries, or cranberries work great. There’s no need to thaw the fruit in advance. It is easier to incorporate in the oatmeal mixture if they are chopped first.
How to Store Ooey Gooey Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars
Here are a few options for Storing your Ooey Gooey Oatmeal Cherry Chocolate Chip Bars to maintain their freshness and flavor.
Unrefrigerated (Room Temperature)
You can store the bars at room temperature for 2 to 3 days in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag.
However, keep in mind that room temperature storage may cause the bars to become slightly less moist over time.
If you want to extend the shelf life of your bars, you can store them in the refrigerator. Place them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.
When stored in the refrigerator, these bars can stay fresh for about 5 to 7 days.
To prolong the shelf life even further, you can freeze the bars. Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper, and then place them in an airtight container or a freezer-safe resealable bag.
When stored in the freezer, these bars can remain good for up to 2 to 3 months.
When you’re ready to enjoy a frozen bar, simply let it thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours or at room temperature for about 30 minutes. You can also warm it briefly in the microwave if you prefer it slightly warmed.
Ooey Gooey Oatmeal Cherry Chocolate Chip Bars Recipe
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- 1 Cup Dark Sweet Cherries Chopped
- ½ Cup Apple Sauce
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 2 Cups Quick Oats
- ½ Cup Honey
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly spray a 9 x 9 rectangular baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pro Tip. For easy removal, line with parchment paper. That way, when the bars are cool, you can lift them out of the pan and cut uniform bars for serving.
- In a medium bowl, combine the dark sweet cherries, apple sauce, egg, chocolate chips, oats, and honey. Stir to combine all the ingredients. The mixture should be crumbly, but evenly coated with the honey and egg.1 Cup Dark Sweet Cherries, ½ Cup Apple Sauce, 1 Large Egg, 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, 2 Cups Quick Oats, ½ Cup Honey
- Transfer into the baking pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
- Cool completely and cut into bars.