Blueberries are definitely one of my most used fruits. In the summer I like to buy large quantities of fresh local blueberries and freeze them for the fall and winter months. Having this supply has meant that I’ve learned to love blueberries in almost everything I bake: muffins, breads, cakes, and crisps. They almost always make an appearance in my smoothies as well.
The inspiration for these bars came when I saw this recipe for Blackberry Coconut Bars. I liked the idea of making fruit bars, which I’ve never actually done before, but I knew I wanted oats in my bars as well. After looking at a few different recipes I ended up using the base/topping from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Date Bars (page 128) in The Joy of Vegan Baking, adding coconut (shredded, sugar, and oil) and making other changes to make it healthier than the original. For the filling I tossed frozen blueberries with some cornstarch, agave, and vanilla, as I’d seen done in a few different recipes.
These bars are moist, crumbly, and only slightly sweet. They are quick and simple to make, and I really loved the combination of blueberries and coconut. The coconut craze seems to be in full swing and, as you can probably tell by the use of 3 forms of coconut in the following recipe, I have become a willing participant.
Blueberry Coconut Crumble Bars
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
4 tsp ground flax
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C coconut sugar (sucanat or brown sugar would work)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/4-1/2 cup water
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tsp cornstarch
1/8 cup agave
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and lightly grease a 9-inch (23cm) square or 9×13-inch (23x33cm) pan. For the base/topping, in a large bowl thoroughly combine the oats, coconut, ground flax, salt, sugar, and flour. Heat the coconut oil (I use the microwave) until it is mostly liquid. Pour into bowl with dry ingredients, and add 1/4 cup of water. Stir together until totally combined. It should be moist but not wet, and will form little clumps. Add more water if needed. Press half of this mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan. For the filling, combine the blueberries, vanilla, and agave in a small bowl. Add the cornstarch and stir until coated. Spread this mixture out on top of the base (it might not look like enough filling, but when cooked it will be). Crumble the remaining half of the base/topping mixture over top of the blueberries. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is slightly browned. Let cool 5 minutes, then cut into bars. Enjoy!
When you cut these bars you will probably end up with quite a bit of crumbles left in the dish. My suggestion: add them to your next bowl of oatmeal, cereal, or granola for a nice breakfast treat. That is if you can stop yourself from eating them right out of the pan!
Have you joined the recent coconut craze? Do you have a favourite form of coconut to bake/cook with?
I’ve started baking with coconut oil and I really like the results so far. I love using coconut milk to make creamy sauces, and I really enjoy the brown sugar-like flavour of coconut sugar.
Do you have a favourite recipe that showcases coconut (in any form)? Please share.
I love this Pineapple Coconut Bread, but these bars are a close second.