After all of their Halloween treats last Friday, I thought the co-irkers needed something just a little healthier this week, so we're going back to whole grained goodness with these lemon-oat squares. Don't get me wrong, there's still enough butter and sugar in them to satisfy your sweet-n-rich tooth, but at least you'll get some nutritional benefits from the oats and whole wheat flour. See how much I care about you?
You'll find the lemon flavoring in these a little more subtle than in classic lemon bars and it pairs very well with the sweet, nutty flavor of the oats.
Lemon-Oat Squares (from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ground for 30 seconds in a food processor
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 TBSP orange juice
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1-2 TBSP finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13 inch pan.
To prepare the crust: Beat the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl until smooth. Add the rolled oats, ground oats, flour and orange juice, mixing to combine. The mixture will start to clump; as soon as it starts to look cohesive, stop mixing.
Sprinkle half of the mixture (about 2 generous cups) into the prepared pan. Press it into the bottom of the pan, patting the crumbs firmly to make a smooth layer.
To prepare the filling: Whisk the condensed milk, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl, stirring until smooth and thickened. Spread the filling over the crust in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.
Bake until light, golden brown, 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and set on a rack to cool. After about 10 minutes, loosen the edges of the squares with a knife. Refrigerate overnight, covered, before cutting and serving.