An exhausting work week led to an enjoyable weekend, where, on Saturday, I was able to revive my old tradition of going to the farmer's market and picking up fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Pints of small fresh-picked strawberries have been a regular occurrence at the farmer's market lately, and the sweet smell of berries was just too much to pass up. I bought two baskets; the first for baking, and the second for my face. I had picked up a few stalks of rhubarb the week prior, so of course it was only natural to combine the two. I had been promising my coworkers that I would bring something in on Monday since they have started me a "sweet indulgence" fund whereby they put money into a nicely decorated can and I in turn feed them fresh baked goods. Ignoring their suggestions (though they WERE good suggestions) because I wanted to use seasonal ingredients. Pie is difficult to eat at work and I have already made a strawberry rhubarb coffee cake, so I decided to frankenstein three different recipes to make some fruit filled oatmeal bars with a streusel topping (everything is better with streusel). They were extremely well received, as the empty pan sitting near me is now indicating.
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB OATMEAL CRUMB BARS [VEGAN+GLUTEN FREE]
3/4 C. vegan margarine
3/4 C. applesauce
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 C. packed light-brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with 6 tbsp. water
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 c. gluten-free flour blend (I like to use oat flour here, mixed with sorghum, garbanzo, tapioca starch, potato starch, and a little bit of sweet white rice flour).
1 tsp. xanthan gum
2 C. old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
3 c. diced rhubarb
3 c. sliced fresh strawberries
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp. potato starch or cornstarch starch mixed with a bit of water
1/2 c. vegan shortening
2/3 c. brown sugar
1-1/2 c. gluten free flour blend
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. oatmeal flakes
Make the filling.
In a medium sized saucepan, combine rhubarb and sugar and over medium heat and simmer until slightly mushy. Add strawberries and continue to boil, approximately 10 minutes or more. When filling is to desired consistency (I like to leave a few chunks) and combine the potato starch with water and whisk into the fruit mixture. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x19 baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk together margarine, applesauce, sugars, flax gel, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. In a medium sized bowl, combine flours, xanthan gum, and oats. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined. Spread 1/2 of batter in prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.
Spread fruit filling over the baked oatmeal bars. Using a spoon, drop the rest of the uncooked oatmeal mixture over the fruit filling and spread out to the best of your ability.
Combine the streusel topping ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Using two knives cut the shortening into the dry ingredients. Sprinkle over the oatmeal bars and bake for 25-30 minutes.