Yet another night I really don't feel like cooking dinner, but these bar cookies are simple enough and since they've got fruit, nuts and oats in them I can pretend they're healthy and eat them for breakfast.
The last time I made these I made the fruit filling with a jar of black cherry jam, a bit of vanilla and a quarter cup of a spicy red wine. The next time, I'm going to use pumpkin butter, ground almonds and nutmeg. This time I used the black sapote swirl from the coffee cake recipe in the week seven newsletter (cut down by a third):
1/3 cup vanilla sugar
1 cup mashed black sapote
3 Tablespoons ground walnuts (I don't know why I expected a powder when I ground walnuts in my spice grinder. I actually got nut chunks in half formed walnut butter. By the way, walnut butter? Really good. I did not know that.), and
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 generous pinch fine-ground coffee
and a pinch of salt.
The bar itself is made of:
3/4 cup butter, softened,
1 cup packed light brown sugar
and then mixed with
1 1/2 cups rolled oats,
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
and another pinch of salt.
That's half packed on the bottom of a buttered 9"x13" baking pan, then spread with the black sapote mixture. The other half is mixed with a small handful of crushed walnut bits and crumbled on top.
All baked at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until light brown. Well, actually, it starts light brown. Slightly darker brown?
Like I said, simple enough.
The result is really pretty good. The outer layers are, of course, crisp and oaty as they should be and somewhat less sweet than you'd expect given how much sugar's in it. The filling is creamy with a little more body than the epoxy gel the jam reduced to in my last batch. The sapote's fruitiness is hidden behind notes of nut and spice leaving a mild mocha start with a lingering toasted oat/walnut butter finish. Hard to guess that there's fruit in there unless you were told; the addition of coffee, I think, goes some distance to bringing out the sapote's psuedo-chocolate flavors. Call it mocha-cream walnut oat bars and I don't think anyone would suspect there's fruit in there. I may just take them in to work tomorrow to confirm that hypothesis.