I like to call these bars, “Always Bars” because they can really be eaten at anytime of the day. They have protein (oats, eggs, chia seeds), fruit (apple sauce, coconut, optional: raisins), and fun (dark chocolate, cinnamon). They are not sugar free, but most of the sugar is naturally occurring in the dark chocolate, apple sauce, and raisins. They do however, calm a sweet tooth or give energy during that mid-day slump.
2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or substitute raisins)
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce (this is replacing canola oil and cutting down the fat content)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
a shake of salt
Preheat the over to 350°F and spray an 8 by 8 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until gently blended. Spread the batter in the greased pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges start to brown. Let the bars cool before cutting.
*The neat thing about this recipe is that once you add the foundation ingredients (oats, flour, sugar, apple sauce, eggs) you can really add the mix-ins that you enjoy most. Instead of chia seeds, maybe use ground flaxseed or walnuts. Don’t like coconut? Just leave it out and maybe add a few more chocolate chips or raisins. And if you want to make it more of a dessert, use a 1/2 cup canola oil instead of applesauce for a lighter density.