Concord Grape Oat Squares
This was an extra fun post to put together, as it brought me out of the kitchen and over to visit one of my local farms, Nature’s Farm in Dover, NH, where I personally collected some amazing grapes fresh off the vine. If you ever get the opportunity, do make the time and effort to pick your own grapes from a local farmer. The smell alone from being surrounded by all of the divine fruit was so amazing! These were happily growing off vines intertwined with a crab apple tree.
This Concord Grape Oat Squares recipe is a healthier adaptation of a recipe originally developed by one of my Professors from Johnson & Wales University. Chef Dean Lavornia’s Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars are admittedly tasty, but they also call for two sticks of butter per one pan of squares- a recipe with a definite need of a healthy Redux if I ever saw one! Without all the butter, my version admittedly won’t crumble quite like the original, but they are still quite tasty squares and are far friendlier to both your heart and waistline. You could have some as a dessert, for a snack, or even with breakfast.
Olive oil, apple sauce and maple syrup are replacing the butter and brown sugar usually found in a recipe of this type. Instead of buying processed, sugary preserves, I used homemade grape “quick-jam,” with chia seeds as the quick-thickener. Yes, you could substitute store jam here, but trust me, it’s worth breaking out the blender to make your own quick-jam yourself instead. Tip: you may want to double the jam portion of this recipe and keep the extra as a delicious morning treat with your toast. You can throw berries in with the grapes too.
for the Quick-Jam:
1.5 cups Concord grapes, seeded
4 teaspoons Chia seeds
1 tablespoon Water, warm
2 tablespoons Honey
for the dough:
1/2 cup Oat flour*
1/2 cup Sorghum flour
1/4 cup Buckwheat flour
1/2 teaspoon Xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 cup Maple syrup
1/3 cup Olive oil
1 cup Apple sauce
1 large Egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract, pure
1 cup Old fashioned rolled oats*
1/3 cup Walnuts, shelled, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking dish then line it with parchment paper. Make sure parchment is long enough so that at least two ends can overhang the dish rim. Lightly spray parchment with olive oil.
To make the jam: In a high-powered blender add jam ingredients. (Include honey if the grapes need some sweetening, but if substituting the Concord grapes with a sweeter variety, cut the amount of honey by at least half). Process until a jam consistency, about a minute. Set aside.
To make the dough: In a large bowl combine the oat, sorghum and buckwheat flours along with the xanthan gum, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and mix together. Add the apple sauce, olive oil, egg and vanilla and mix well. Fold in the rolled oats and chopped walnuts.
To assemble: Divide the dough in half. Pour half the dough into the baking dish lined with parchment, evenly covering the bottom of the dish. Spread the grape jam evenly over the layer of dough. Top the jam layer with the remaining dough by taking small, thin dollops of dough and gently spreading them over the jam (top layer won’t really cover perfectly, and that’s OK; it will still taste great!)
Bake until golden and cooked through, about 40 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes then carefully lift pastry out of pan using the parchment. Slice into a dozen squares. Enjoy!
*Note: If preparing this gluten-free, make sure to use certified gluten-free oats.
Makes a dozen servings
Serving size: 1 square