You Heart What You Eat: Oatmeal Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Bars | SteamboatToday.com

You Heart What You Eat: Oatmeal Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Bars

Tera Johnson-Swartz

Growing up as a classic cookie lover

— You know what I love almost as much as a classic cookie? A cookie bar, of course! Now, before you jump to conclusions about my post a couple months ago featuring the classic chocolate chip cookie, you'll just have to trust me when I say, this recipe almost surpasses my passion for cookies.

Growing up a die-hard classic cookie lover, I've had a heck of a time finding a bar cookie recipe that has been comparable in taste, flavor and health content. I mean, if it's not broke, don't fix it is usually my motto, but sometimes even your favorite of anything just doesn't sound good so you venture out of your comfort zones to discover something new and delicious. And that is how I discovered the Oatmeal Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Bar! Actually, the recipe I found was just an oatmeal cookie bar recipe that I doctored up to my liking and health-preference to make it just as good and twice as healthy as the original.

Aside from the high amounts of fiber and protein packed goodness found in the oats and almond meal, hazelnut oil offers a high oleic acid content (aka monounsaturated fats or omega- 9s linked to lowering LDL cholesterol levels and raising HDL cholesterol levels just like the doctor's ordered). Plus, the low cane sugar content per bite replaced by the growingly popular date sugar (ground up dried dates into a powder form) contain high values of potassium, iron, B6 and magnesium, should make you feel twice as good about sharing this treat with your kiddos.

If you ask my husband or either of the kids what was healthy about these bars, you'll hear crickets and see deer-in-the-headlight stares — which is exactly what I strive to accomplish. So give this recipe a try and then let me know if you can notice anything healthy about them. I can just about guarantee they'll become a favorite in your house too!

Oatmeal Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Bars – high altitude recipe (gluten free)

  • 2 1⁄2 cup old fashioned oats

  • 1 1⁄4 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
  • 3⁄4 cup almond meal

  • 3⁄4 cup date sugar

  • 1⁄4 cup brown sugar

  • 3⁄4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt

  • 1 cup hazelnut oil

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tbs. vanilla

  • 8 oz. dark chocolate chopped into chunks (about 1 1⁄2 cups)

Heat oven to 365 degrees.

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Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish or line with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl add all dry ingredients and mix. Add oil, eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. The dough will seem oily, but this is good. Fold in the chocolate pieces and press evenly throughout the greased baking dish.

Bake about 20 to 25 minutes, do NOT over bake. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. The bars are a bit crumbly, but oh so heavenly. Serve warm, room temp or cold — you'll surely enjoy them no matter what their temperature!

YOU HEART WHAT YOU EAT is a weekly blog offering a twist of healthy alternative tips and recipes for some of our most coveted comfort foods. From decadent desserts to main dish favorites, you'll surely look forward to our next edition. Questions or suggestions you'd like included in one of our future blogs should be directed to Tera Johnson-Swartz via email at terajohnsonswartz@gmail.com.

Tera Johnson-Swartz is a mommy first, but also enjoys working one of her many, many side gigs whether it be freelance writing, music, massage therapy, independent childbirth, lactation or health educating. She is eternally grateful she is able to follow her passion each and every day and loves her supporting husband and their two young children  and couldn’t imagine living a better life outside the city limits of Steamboat Springs.