healthy PBJ Bars
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or granulated sugar)
4 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup strawberry jam
1/2 cup frozen or fresh strawberries (or raspberries), chopped
2 tablespoons natural salted creamy peanut butter
*optional 2 tablespoons roasted salted peanuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
Add oats, almonds, sea salt, and coconut sugar to a food processor or high speed blender and pulse into a fine meal, making sure no large pieces remain.
Transfer to a mixing bowl and add melted coconut oil. Stir with a spoon to incorporate. Then use your hands to work the oil into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles wet sand.
Spread the mixture into the baking dish and press down into an even layer with your fingers or a flat object (such as a drinking glass).
Bake for 15 minutes. Then increase heat to 375 degrees F (190 C) and bake for 5 minutes more, or until the crust is fragrant and the edges are slightly golden brown.
In the meantime, add jam and strawberries to a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat until hot and pourable - about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Once crust is slightly golden brown, remove from oven and immediately add strawberry jam. Use a spoon to spread into an even layer. Then dollop on peanut butter in 1 teaspoon amounts.
Use the handle end of a spoon (or a chopstick) to gently swirl the two together. Top with crushed peanuts (optional).
Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F (176 C) and bake for another 12-17 minutes or until the strawberry topping is warm and bubbly.
Remove squares from oven and let cool completely - 2-3 hours. Once cooled, gently lift bars from pan and slice into 9 even squares, or 10 bars.
Store leftovers in a well-sealed container at room temperature for 2 days, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or the freezer up to 1 month.