Strawberry Almond Butter Bars
What’s your favorite season? Mine is strawberry season! There is nothing like a fresh picked strawberry. Warm from the sun, super ripe and juicy, unusually shaped, they are far better than anything you can buy in a supermarket.
The only problem (not really a problem) is whenever I pick strawberries, I literally cannot stop picking them until my basket can’t hold anymore. There are just so many, I want them all! The best part is bringing them home (obviously eating a decent percentage in the car) and finding all the delicious ways to enjoy them in every meal and snack.
These bars take a few cups of berries and concentrate their sweetness via simmering with vanilla and balsamic. If you haven’t heard, balsamic and strawberries are definitely a thing. The bright and fresh sweetness of strawberries is perfectly complimented by rich, acidic, and darkly sweet balsamic vinegar. It literally all boils down to a jammy flavor bomb, which is given some structure with crunchy chia seeds.
The base of these bars is like a nutty almond butter granola cookie. As with the strawberry jam on top, the oat base is not super sweet. There is actually just 2 tbs. sugar in the base, and no sugar in the strawberry topping. While these bars are meant to be a more nutrient dense snack or dessert, for me I don’t think they need more sugar. As it is, the deep sweetness of the berries and the warm nuttiness of the almonds comes through in such a delicious and balanced way, that additional sugar seems aimless. I do understand most people are used to items like this being sweeter, so if you like you can add a little sugar to the strawberries while they cook.
I tried a bar with some Greek yogurt and it was pretty amazing. I would highly suggest this pairing. However, just a simple bar on its own is excellent and satisfying as well. Whichever way you try them, I am sure you will enjoy these fruity, nutty bars. They are such a delicious way to celebrate the season!
Strawberry Almond Butter Bars
Makes 6 bars
3 heaping cups (475g) fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1 tbs. vanilla extract
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup (40g) chia seeds
2 cups (200g) old fashioned rolled oats
2 tbs. brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ cup (130g) almond butter
3 tbs. butter, melted
½ tsp. vanilla
In a medium pot, combine the strawberries, vanilla, balsamic, and salt. Place on med-low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Adjust heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chia seeds, stir well and let cook another minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Take half the oats (1 cup or 100g) and blend into a flour using a small food processor or the small cup and flat blade attachment of an individual smoothie blender. (Or if you have oat flour, you can just use that) Mix the oat flour, oats, brown sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Then mix in the almond butter, melted butter, and vanilla. Combine very well, using hands if it’s easiest.
Line a standard 9”x5” (23x13 cm) loaf pan with parchment. Firmly and evenly press the oat mixture into the bottom of the lined pan. Spread cooled strawberry chia jam on top evenly. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Let cool. Then cut into 6 bars.
I like to store these in the fridge for a nice, firm texture, but they could be stored at room temp as well. They should keep for at least a week if you don’t eat them before then.
Notes: If you are new to/not the biggest fan of lightly sweet items, add 1 tbs. sugar to the strawberries while they cook for more sweetness. I measure oats by pouring or spooning into a measuring cup. Scooping into the oats with the measuring cup results in a more packed cup with too many oats. Peanut butter is a delicious alternative to the almond butter!