I think I am gradually getting used to coconut flour. I have learnt not to use it as the sole or main flour when baking. I have definitely learnt that it is a dangerous when combined with purple carrots. And I have learnt that it works rather spectacularly in no-bake chocolate brownies with avocado.
I didn't like these squares as much as I liked the brownie bites, but I did enjoy them nonetheless. They are very low in sugar; free of wheat, dairy and eggs; and incorporate sesame seeds as well as oats and coconut flour. They are crumbly, but in an appropriate way - crumbly on top, but holding together underneath.
I think the only thing I'd change if making them again is the fruit filling. Strawberry was fine, but it lacked punch. I think raspberries would have more zing and lift this slice from enjoyable to wonderful.
For now, here is the strawberry version I made last weekend. I have listed possible variations at the end, and if you are catering to 'regular' tastes I would advise increasing the sweetener. I liked the reduction in sweetness for a change, but the taste was different to commercial oat bars or squares.
Strawberry oat squares with coconut flour
Vegan and wheat free
Makes 16 squares
For the filling
1 punnet (250g) fresh strawberries, washed, stems removed and cut in half
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp vanilla
For the base and topping
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup rolled oats, divided
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 tbsp + 1 tbsp maple syrup, divided
Preheat your oven to 180'C and line a square baking dish with baking paper.
Place the filling ingredients in a medium saucepan and roughly mash the strawberries. Bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce heat immediately and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, uncovered and stirring regularly, until the mixture thickens. Set the filling aside while you prepare the base and topping.
In a food processor, process half of the oats (1/2 cup) and the sesame seeds until finely processed. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the remaining oats, coconut flour, vanilla, baking powder, cinnamon, milk and 1 tbsp maple syrup. Mix well.
Transfer approximately two-thirds of the oat mixture into the bottom of your lined baking dish. Press down firmly.
Pour the filling over the base and smooth out evenly. Cover with the remaining oat mixture, and then drizzle the remaining 1 tbsp maple syrup across the top.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.
First oat layer
Oat topping, drizzled with maple syrup
I enjoyed these more when eaten from the refrigerator, but am aware that might be a climate-specific preference. They certainly paired well with a cup of tea, and made for an enjoyable mid-afternoon snack most days this week.
As for possible variations? As noted, I would probably use raspberries (defrosted from frozen) instead of strawberries next time. If you want a sweeter product, I would recommend adding 1 - 2 tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar to the filling, and using 2 - 4 tbsp syrup or sugar in the oat mixture. If you don't have or don't like coconut flour, you can of course use regular flour instead.
Submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday 26, co-hosted by Gabby and Carrie.