Oatmeal Lemon Cream Bars

This is an extremely quick, easy, cookie bar recipe. I made this around Christmas and it was a huge hit! There are two different ways to make this recipe: 1) the “short-cut”: using a package of Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix as the base, and 2) the “from scratch”: making your own oatmeal base from scratch. I prefer the “from scratch” method (mainly because it is cheaper and I can control the amount of sugar), but the “short-cut” is still delicious if you are pressed for time. This is an excellent recipe if you’re looking for a different variation of the classic lemon bar.

Short-Cut Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
  • 1 egg- substitute with 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce!
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (approx 1 lemon)

 

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8X11 pan.

2) In a large bowl, cut the cold butter into the cookie mix with a fork.

3) Stir in the egg or applesauce until the mixture is crumbly.

4) Press a little over half of the oat mixture into pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.

5) In a small bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest until thick and combined.

6) Spread lemon mixture evenly on top of the oat mixture in the pan. Top with the remaining oat mixture.

7) Bake another 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool and refrigerate 30 minutes or until set. Cut into bars and refrigerate.

 

***From scratch Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 egg- substitute with 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon

 

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease an 8X11 pan.

2) In a large bowl, mix the butter and brown sugar until they are well combined. Add egg/applesauce.

3) In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

4) Add oats and dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix to combine.

5) Press a little over half of the oat mixture into pan.

6) In a small bowl, mix together sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Spread evenly on top of the oat mixture in the pan. Top with the remaining oat mixture.

7) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool and refrigerate 30 minutes or until set. Cut into bars and refrigerate.

Flourless Banana Muffins

Last week I had what I would like to call a “baking crisis.” I had this crazy urge to bake banana muffins, but quickly realized that I was out of some of the crucial ingredients I needed…such as flour. Instead of waiting to go to the store and buy flour, I was determined. So I began substituting the ingredients that I didn’t have. What resulted was a combination of many different recipes and ingredient substitution websites (many of the flourless recipes called for Greek or regular yogurt, neither of which I actually had). I was surprised to find that these turned out to be delicious!

Flourless Banana Muffins
2 1/2 cup oats
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or substitute with 1 cup sour cream)
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar (I use slightly less than this and will use closer to 1/2 cup the next time I make them)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 over ripe bananas, smashed

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray or grease with Crisco (or line with liners. Foil works best, but I used paper and they worked just fine. If you use paper, you just need to make sure muffins are completely cool before you try to eat them. Otherwise, half of the muffin ends up stuck to the paper liner)
3) Place oats in a large food processor and blend until smooth, almost flour-like texture. Pour into large mixing bowl.
4) Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and stir until combined.
5) Divide batter evenly into the muffin pan.
6) Bake 20-25 minutes for full size muffins, 10-15 minutes for mini muffins. Test with toothpick to make sure they are done!

Happy baking!