Winter Snacking - Recipe for Cranberry Oat Bars For a Treat Pot-Luck

I love oatmeal.

Even loaded down with brown sugar it still feels healthy when I eat it or feed it to the kids.
The other day the family went to my fourteen year old's first piano recital which had a pot-lock treat table set up for after the event.  I didn't notice the "pot-luck" part until the morning of the recital.

I didn't have a lot of ingredients in the house to make something, or a lot of time to be fussy.

So, I whipped up a batch of  Cranberry Oat bars to take along.

The Fourteen Year Old Being Awesome

Super Awesome Music Teacher in green behind the boy

A couple people liked them and requested the recipe. I am posting the whole thing, as I came across it, which is actually the full flavor one and  a really healthy version.

(Note- I have made these bars with 1/4 cup less butter and brown sugar and they are still really good.  I have also made them and forgotten the flour; they still taste good, but don't really come out as bars. I usually make them without nuts because pecans are expensive and I have a kid who doesn't like them anyway. I've also used quick oats instead of old-fashioned and it still tastes the same.)

November 15, 2006

Dear Jeanne,
Enclosed is a cookie recipe I received last Thanksgiving. It is one of the best I have ever eaten; however, with 1¼ cups of butter and 1½ cups of brown sugar, I would like your version of lowering the calories. Thank you very much.
Joyce Peterson
San Diego


1¼ cups butter, divided

1½ cups packed brown sugar, divided

3½ cups old-fashioned oats, divided

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 can 16 ounces whole-berry cranberry sauce

½ cup finely chopped pecans

In a large mixing bowl, cream 1 cup of the butter and 1 cup of the brown sugar; stir in 2½ cups of the oats and the flour. Press into a greased 13- by 9-inch baking pan. Spread with cranberry sauce. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt remaining butter; stir in the pecans and remaining brown sugar and oats. Sprinkle over cranberry sauce. Bake at 375 F for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Makes 3 dozen

Dear Joyce,
I cut the fat by more than half, and it's still a delicious bar cookie. I found that by grinding 1 cup of the oatmeal in a blender, I could keep all the goodness of the oatmeal and not have to use so much butter to hold it all together. I also used fresh cranberries instead of the canned sauce. It's very easy to make the filling, and it tastes so much better. If you would rather use the canned, there is only a 1-calorie difference. You could also substitute any other fruit or fruit spread that you like.


1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries

1 cup water

¾ cup sugar

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal rolled oats

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 tablespoon honey

½ cup applesauce

1/3 cup pecans, toasted

Place the rinsed cranberries, water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cranberries burst and the liquid is thickened. Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Spray a 9- by 13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Take 1 cup of the oats and blend in a blender or food processor until you can't see whole oats anymore. Add to the butter and sugar. Add the rest of the oats, the flour, honey and applesauce. Combine until mixed and crumbly.

Take 3½ cups of this mixture and press it firmly into the prepared pan. Spread with the cooled cranberry sauce. Add the pecans to the remaining oat mixture, combine and sprinkle over the top of the cranberries.
Bake for 25 minutes. This may be eaten warm or cold. A little nonfat vanilla yogurt and a hot cookie make a nice combination.

Makes 36 bars 2 inches by 1½ inches.
Each bar contains:
Original recipe: 164 calories; 8 gm fat; 17 mg cholesterol; 71 mg sodium; 22 gm carbohydrates; 2 gm protein; 1 gm fiber.

Revised recipe: 100 calories; 3 gm fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 22 mg sodium; 17 gm carbohydrates; 2 gm protein; 2 gm fiber.

I can't remember what website I snagged this off of, but if you know who Joyce and Jeanne are, let them know, we love these BARS!




  1. Hi, Dana! These bars look awesome! You are my kind of cook/baker! :)

  2. Yum these look sooooooo good. I'm the same, totally love oatmeal (even when drowned in sugar and extra). xx


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