I had been promising to bake cookies for my son for weeks, and kept putting him off, repeating “Maybe next weekend!” several times. At one point he got smart, and responded: “Promise?”. “Promise,” I answered automatically, before I even realized what I was saying.
I love baking, and the problem wasn’t the baking, but the CALORIES. I’ve been trying to psych myself into starting a diet for weeks now and…really now is not the time to hound me for home-made baking! Lo and behold, the very day after the diet finally began, my son called in that promise.
But never fear! This is NOT a diet recipe. :o)
What I finally settled for, diet-wise, was the 2-Day Mediterranean Diet because of the unique feature of 2 low-carb days followed by 5 days following the Mediterranean diet (while also restricting calories to 1500 per day). I felt like this was something I could live with. My challenge on the dreaded baking day was to find a recipe that at least somewhat followed the principles of the Mediterranean diet, while not strictly being a diet food. I randomly googled some of the allowed ingredients that I currently had on hand: berries, yogurt, oatmeal, canola oil…and this Cranberry Oatmeal Bar recipe from Chobani is what came up. At 120 calories per bar, filled with (mostly) allowed foods, this was something I could work into my meal plan. Nuts are also allowed and encouraged, and so I added pecans to mine, which will increase the calorie count to 135 calories per bar.
These were very moist and tangy, and the crust and topping was pleasantly crunchy. They were easy to put together and kept well in the refrigerator. My son pronounced them a hit.
Cranberry Greek Yogurt Bars with Oatmeal Crust
Makes 24 bars
For the crust:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons canola oil (I used olive oil! With the butter and all the other flavors, it was undetectable)
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
For the filling:
- 3/4 cup greek yogurt, vanilla- or honey-flavored
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg white
- 1-1/2 cup dried cranberries
- zest of 1/2 small lemon
For the topping:
- 1/2 cup of the crust mixture
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly coat an 11×7-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Whisk together 1 cup flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together butter, oil and orange juice. Add juice mixture to flour mixture and stir until mixture becomes crumbly.
- Reserve ½ cup of this mixture for the topping. Press the rest of the mixture into the prepared baking pan and up the sides.
- Whisk together yogurt, sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and egg white in a medium bowl. Stir in cranberries and lemon zest. Spread over crust in even layer.
- Sprinkle reserved oat mixture with the pecans on top.
- Bake until edges are golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Cool completely and slice into 24 squares.