Strawberry Oat Bars

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The last day of my senior seminar consisted of presentations and food. My project was a map of fruit trees and convenience stores along Telegraph Ave. Here is a snippet:

Given the initial inspiration from LA based Fallen Fruit, our map focused on the blurred boundaries between public and private space through comparing fruit trees and convenience stores. Our data for convenience store locations came from driving along Telegraph. Conversely, our data for fruit trees came from publicly created and shared maps that reveal the whereabouts edible sustenance.

The layers on our map are an attempt to portray the city as an orchard. Peeling back the top layer, all you see is a multitude of trees (and stores). Without streets to directionally guide you, you are left lost between an edible, urban forest. Furthermore, the color scheme mimics a tree and mirrors where most of the bounty is concentrated.

If we reimagine public space as a space that can provide food, it might be part of a solution to creating a more equitable food system where fresh produce is accessible to people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. It would also be beneficial to residents that live in environmentally degraded areas because of the ecosystem services that trees provide. Fruit would be just a few blocks away, and free for picking. Trees could be taken care of by the community, and provide nourishment for anyone who wanders through.

The food we brought in, ideally, was to be related to our project (props to those that talked about bars and public intoxication and brought in beer for all. I think all seminar presentations should include libations since they take the nervous edge off). So naturally, fruit (not beer) fit in with our project. However, bringing in just fruit would have been boring and of course I wanted to incorporate fruit into a baked delicacy. I was planning to make Peach Crumble Bars, but strawberries (weekly special) were a good deal cheaper than peaches. Therefore, I settled on Strawberry Crumble Oat Bars instead. It seems that any fruit would work in a bar form, but the spice combination would probably have to change. For instance, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, etc would not pair well with tart berries (or would they…?)

I adapted this recipe from Smells Like Home but I found that this makes more than 9-12 bars. Unless they are huuuge bars. I also added oats to the final crumb topping, which are not included in that recipe. And instead of using 1 C of butter, I used 1/2 C butter and 1/2 C coconut oil. And I added a spoonful of Vanilla to the strawberry mixture!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 C sugar, will be divided 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 C AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • lemon zest from 1 lemon (or a bit more)
  • 1/2 C butter, cut in pieces
  • 1/2 C coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups strawberries, sliced. Better yet, get someone else to do the tedious, labor intensive slicing for you
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • lemon juice from the above lemon (or a bit more)
  • 1/2 cup oats

Method

  • 375 degrees for the oven. 9×13 inch pan should be greased
  • In a bowl, combine 1 cup of the sugar with the baking powder, flour, salt, and lemon zest. Mix it with a fork. Inhale, because it smells really good.
  • Add the butter and coconut oil, and the egg and use your hands to break up the fats until you are left with what looks like course crumbs.
  • Press-in slightly more than half of said “crumbs” onto the bottom of your pan.
  • In another bowl, combine rest of your sugar (thats 1/2 cup) with the lemon juice, cornstarch and vanilla. Add the strawberries and stir well. Make sure the cornstarch isn’t clumpy.
  • Spread the strawberries on top of layer 1 in the pan. I did not use whatever juices appeared in the bottom of my bowl.
  • Add the oats to your remaining crumb mixture, and stir well. You could also add a touch of vanilla if you want.
  • Sprinkle the oaty goodness on top of the strawberries.
  • Bake for 45 minutes–should be slightly golden on top. Your house will smell amazing. You may want to let it cool before slicing so that the bars don’t fall apart. They are delicious if still slightly warm, and a bit of ice cream might go a long way.

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