Since it was my boyfriend’s birthday last week, there was a lot of baking going on in our kitchen for obvious reasons. However, since I had my last exam on Thursday, it was actually my boyfriend who was in charge of baking for once. He got so many messages from people saying that they knew he was well taken care of food-wise on his birthday, but since I was also fighting a cold, he took over the kitchen this week. It’s tradition in his soccer team that the birthday boy brings cake for the whole team, and he had been telling everyone that he was going to bring healthy, plant based and refined sugar-free cake. So we had to come up with a whole baking tray of healthy cake, because there’s no recipe like that on my blog yet.
I wanted to make a German “Streuselkuchen”, but I was afraid that this might not turn out so well. Then I suggested to make a crumble for everyone, but realized that that was not going to work either, because they do not have forks or plates at soccer practice. Luckily, I was asked to beta test Angela Liddon’s new app coming in April this week, so I remembered seeing chia jam oat squares at her blog that I have always wanted to try, so we tried them and they turned out amazing. We twisted the recipe a bit, but the idea is the same. One crumble layer on the bottom, chia jam in the middle topped with a delicious mixture of oats, coconut oil, cinnamon and honey.
On a little side note, I wanted to share some minor news: I’m finally on snapchat! (heavenlynn_blog). Whooo! Well, I’ve been on snapchat for over two years, but I’ve never actively used it, until my snapchat-obsessed sister got me to use it for Heavenlynn Healthy – and I’ve discovered that it’s so much fun. I don’t have time to upload pretty pictures all the time, so snapchat allows me to share some of my daily HLH routines with all of you. Here’s a little snap story from when we baked these bars:
* please excuse my little typo (teams) – I was just so excited to finally try these bars!
I haven’t done this in a while, but let’s examine all the ingredients present in these chia jam oat bars and what benefits they have for our body:
Almonds: Almonds are an amazing source of Vitamin E, the beauty vitamin that strengthens our nails, hair and lets our skin glow.
Chia Seeds: There are about a million amazing health benefits from chia seeds. They are packed with healthy fatty acids called omega-3, which lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Coconut oil: This highly controversial fat is one of the healthiest fats out there. It may be saturated fat, but it’s not the saturated fat found in cheeses or fried food, but the kind that our body can actually absorb and digest well, called medium chain tryclicerides (MCT). Instead of storing it in our fat depots, our body uses coconut oil to produce energy, which has been scientifically proven to lead to weight loss.
Bananas: My favorite fruit is one of the best sources of potassium, which helps us maintain a healthy heart function, and regulates our blood pressure.
Honey: Since I am not strictly vegan, I use honey for its amazing health benefits. It is highly anti-bacterial and raw honey comes with a long list of vitamins and nutrients such as iron, copper or magnesium which are all important for a healthy and functioning body.
Oats: Oats are extremely high in fiber, which aids digestion and stabilizes your blood sugar level. They are also known to lower the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
Raspberries: As all berries, raspberries are true antioxidant superfoods. They also contain lots of vitamin C, which is important to boost our immune system. They’re also a good source of manganese, a mineral that helps strengthen our bones.
As with all my baked goods, I once again need to get something of my chest. Even though this recipe includes only ingredients that have protein, fiber, vitamins or minerals, this is still a sweet cake with lots of (healthy) fats and carbohydrates. It is definitely a healthier option than a traditional German “Streusel”, but please do not think that this cake contains no calories, just because is made with healthy ingredients. Please treat it like you would treat a normal Streusel – one or two pieces should be enough per day – but keep in mind that when eaten in moderation, these oat bars will benefit your body more than a piece of cake from a regular German bakery.
- 6 cups (600g) of (gluten free) oats
- 2 cups (300g) of almonds
- ⅔ cup (140g) of coconut oil
- 2 ripe bananas
- ½ cup (120ml) of maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
- ¼ cup (60ml) of almond milk
- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds + 6 tablespoons of cold water
- 1 teaspoon of aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder
- a pinch of salt
- 6 cups (600g) of frozen raspberries
- 4 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons of chia seeds
- a pinch of vanilla
- 1 cup (100g) of (gluten free) oats
- 1 cup (150g) of almonds
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 4 tablespoons of maple syrup
- a pinch of cinnamon
- Start by making the chia-raspberry jam. Simply place the frozen raspberries into a medium saucepan together with the maple syrup. Heat over medium heat while stirring it frequently and breaking down the raspberries, leaving some for texture. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce the heat to low, and add the chia seeds. Stir for a couple of minutes, and then remove it from the heat and let it cool down and thicken.
- Place the almonds and oats into a food processor to break them down into a flour. Place the flour into a mixing bowl with all the other dry ingredients, and mix everything well. Combine the chia seeds with the water in a small bowl and let it thicken for at least 10 minutes, Mash the bananas in a mixing bowl with a fork.
- Heat the coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat, and add the maple syrup. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the coconut maple syrup mix over the dry ingredients. Add the banana and chia mix, and mix everything well with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon.
- Gradually add the almond milk to reach the desired consistency. You want a crumbly, but still slightly sticky dough texture. Add more almond milk if necessary.
- Line a 17 x 15 inches baking tray (or two 8 x 8 inch square baking trays) with baking paper. This is a tough task, because the dough can be quite sticky and hard to spread. It helps if you get someone to hold the baking paper.
- Evenly spread the chia raspberry jam on top of the base.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (360°F).
- Place the oats and almonds into a food processor, and pulse for a few times until it is nicely broken down into a flour, but still contains some pieces of almonds. Heat the coconut oil, honey and cinnamon in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the sticky coconut oil mix to the oats and almonds, and mix well in you food processor.
- Using your hands, crumble the streusel on top of the chia jam.
- Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes. Check the bars after 15 minutes to see if the streusel start to get brown. If necessary cover the bars with tin foil to avoid burning for the rest of the time. The bars need to be baked for at least 20 minutes, so the base gets heated all the way through.
- Take the bars out of the oven and let them cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows Strawberry Oat Squares.