A few weeks ago, a slight freezer malfunction caused a hiccup in my food storage. All is good now, but there were a few things that managed to completely thaw before I was able to catch them. One of these was the gooseberries that my parents had given me earlier in the summer.
I spent a few days staring at them in the fridge, and then decided that baking was the only answer. (I’ve learned that baking is the answer to a lot of things. I recommend trying it the next time you have a problem.)
I decided that these tart little berries would go great in my favorite oat bars. Since this gave me the opportunity to make the recipe again, I decided I’d experiment with a few other ingredients as well.
I made this batch with virgin coconut oil, which worked great. Keep in mind that this makes them a delicate, crumbly bar; one you will want to eat with a fork and not pack in your snack bag. I also had some gluten-free flour. Since this is a recipe that doesn’t need to rise, I felt it was safe to substitute all the white whole wheat flour for the gluten-free mix. Another winner. (Although, as you probably know if you eat gluten-free, oats are a tricky food. So I won’t be quick to name these 100% gluten-free. But you can easily make yours that way, if you need it.)
With fall finally arriving, I decided to spice this batch up a bit with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. I loved the way the flavors went with the tart berries. If you can’t get your hands on gooseberries, almost any berry will work. Cranberries and blueberries have been two of my past favorites.
Spiced Gooseberry Oat Bars RecipeAdapted from Blueberry Oat Bars, Bryant’s Blueberries
1 ¾ old fashioned rolled oats
1 ½ cups flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free All Purpose Baking Flour in this batch)
¾ cup mascavo (muscovado) sugar (or brown sugar)
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup melted virgin coconut oil
2 cups thawed gooseberries
¾ cup raw sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch or arrow root
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with coconut oil.
In a medium bowl combine the oats, flour, mascavo sugar, walnuts, baking soda and salt. Add the ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour in the melted coconut oil and stir to mix well. You should have a crumbly mixture that is wet enough to hold when pressed together. Reserve about ¾ cup of the mixture.
Press the remaining oat mixture into the baking dish. Spread it evenly and press it firmly into the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a sauce pan combine the gooseberries, and raw sugar (you can add more or less sugar to your taste). Bring to a boil, then simmer, for about 2 minutes. Stir to break up the berries.
In a small dish, stir together the cornstarch, water, and lemon juice to make a paste. Add the paste to the gooseberries and stir until the fruit is thickened. Remove from heat.
Spread the fruit over the oat crust leaving just about a ¼ inch edge on all sides. Crumble the reserved topping evenly over the fruit. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the edges of the crust begin to brown. Cool the pan on a wire rack.
Once cooled completely, cut into bars. Makes about 15 bars.