Peanut Butter Caramel Oat Bars
Happy Friday, everyone. I’ve promised quite a few people this recipe, so here it is (finally)! If the photographs look familiar that’s because I’ve posted them before. I wish I could say I made a fresh batch for today’s blog but as I’m home alone I’d only eat them all myself, and some things are just better shared.
These scrumptious little bars are best eaten straight from the fridge. Rather excitingly, they freeze perfectly and can be eaten within a few minutes of being taken out of the freezer. This makes them a very handy treat to keep on hand for any unexpected guests (or if you run out of chocolate ;-)).
I use unsalted peanut butter in this recipe but almond butter works equally well if you prefer. I use the crunchy version, but smooth is A-OK, too. Meridian is my go-to brand, but whichever you choose, try to find one that uses only nuts and doesn’t include any nonsense ingredients (vegetable oil, palm oil or other additives) that have no business being in your nut butter.
Smaller rolled oats work better in the flapjacks than jumbo oats. Since most gluten-free oats found in supermarkets are of the smaller variety they work a treat. I tend to use deodorised coconut oil in both the flapjacks and the caramel, but regular extra virgin coconut oil works just fine so long as you don’t mind the coconut flavour.
The caramel is sweetened with maple syrup, but you can substitute agave syrup or date syrup. Date syrup can be a bit overpowering, so if you have some in your cupboard and want to use it I’d recommend using half date and half maple or agave.
Not so much a tip as a warning – a lesson I’ve learned to my cost – don’t dare pour the caramel over the flapjacks until they have cooled completely. You’ll get a mess of toasted oats and caramel, which is totally delicious, but not the look we’re going for. There are three steps before assembling the oat bars: baking the flapjacks, making the caramel, and preparing the topping. You can do these in whichever order you prefer, but today we’ll start with the flapjacks.
Oat Bars (flapjacks)
- 300g oats
- 130g coconut oil, melted
- 90g brown sugar
- 50g golden syrup
- Line a 25cm square baking tin (or a dish covering roughly the same area) with baking parchment so that the paper comes up the sides of the dish. This will make it easier to lift the flapjacks out in the end. The oat bars will stick to greaseproof paper so make sure to use baking parchment.
- Rub the melted coconut oil into the oats until evenly distributed and then stir in the brown sugar.
- Finally, drizzle over the golden syrup and the rub it into the oats. The golden syrup helps to bind the oats so that the bars stay together – if you leave it out you’ll find that the flapjacks will be brittle and crumbly.
- Spoon the oat mixture into the dish. Spread out and press down with a spoon until the mixture is evenly distributed and compacted in the tray.
- Bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes or until the oats begin to turn golden.
- Very important – leave to cool completely before pouring over the caramel (!!!)
Peanut Butter Caramel
- 200g cup unsalted peanut butter (either smooth or crunchy)
- 200g cup maple syrup (or agave/date syrup)
- 130g cup coconut oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g pumpkin seeds
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
- Place the nut butter, coconut oil and maple syrup in a small pan on a very low heat and stir until the coconut oil has melted. Flatten out any lumps of nut butter with a wooden spoon at the side of the saucepan.
- When all the ingredients are combined stir in the salt and vanilla extract. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool.
- When both the caramel and the flapjacks are completely cool, pour the caramel over the flapjacks. Tilt the tin so that the caramel reaches each corner of the tin.
- Scatter the topping (dark chocolate chunks and pumpkin seeds) over the caramel.
- Put the tin in the fridge until the caramel sets (at least a couple of hours).
- When set, lift the flapjacks out of the dish and onto a large chopping board. Cut into bars or little bites – whatever you prefer.
If you make these do let me know how they turn out. I’ll be back with a quick and easy savoury recipe next week!
An alternative version – caramel made with almond butter instead of peanut butter, and topped with pistachio nuts and toasted almonds.