These sweet and buttery strawberry oatmeal cookie bars are filled with juicy, ripe fruit, sweet brown sugar and golden oats all baked to a chewy perfection. A lemon thyme glaze makes these jammy, fruit-filled squares a modern treat for kids and grown-ups alike.
And on Fridays, we bake! Or at least we should bake. Because what’s better than having a sweet treat stashed in the fridge to take on impromptu spring picnics, or to go with a hot cup of tea in the afternoon <- Says, my inner Grandma. Besides, it’s pretty much impossible to ignore all that luscious spring fruit gathering in the supermarket shelves, right now. Let’s make the most of it before we’re talking about root vegetables again!
What is an oatmeal cookie bar, anyway?
Well, it is the perfect marriage of oatmeal cookie and granola bar. It’s the simplest way to combine strawberries, rhubarb and chewy, golden oats. And, it’s the unofficial food of picnic tables everywhere. Dessert has gone portable.
As usual, below I’ll do the step by step but this recipe really doesn’t need it. It’s so simple and quick to put together. But, I suppose there are always some extra bits of culinary wisdom I can sprinkle here. Here’s a few quick tips to make sure that you’re oatmeal cookie bars beat everyone else’s bars to the punch.
How to make the best strawberry rhubarb oatmeal cookie bars
- Make sure that your butter is cold because it’ll cut in better and you’ll get a breadcrumb texture rather than a creamy texture.
- You can (and should) totally use a food processor for the oats and butter blending. <- If you don’t have a food processor you should totally get one here… if that’s not an option you can just use your hands, but it’ll be a bit of work!
- Let the jam cool before you make the bars because otherwise, it soaks into your bottom oat layer.
Strawberry rhubarb oatmeal cookie bars step-by-step
- Place all the ingredients for the oats in the bowl of a food processor. *Note- If you want to double this recipe you’ll need to do the oat crumble in two batches. Most food processors couldn’t handle that amount in one shot.
- Blend only until you’ve got a fine breadcrumb texture. *Chef’s pro tip: Take about 2 tablespoons worth of oat mix and squeeze it in your hand just to make sure it all comes together before mixing any further. If it’s still too sandy, give it another mix for about 30 seconds.
- Once you’ve got your oat crumble made and you’re jam chilled, press half of the oat mix into the base of a lined tin. 8-9 inches is perfect.
- You need to really press that oat crumble into the bottom of the tin to make sure that it binds together. If it’s not pressed in firmly enough, you’re base will turn out too crumbly. That means you won’t be able to cut the bars once they’ve been chilled. They’ll still be delicious, just a little messy.
Once you’ve baked these bars to golden, chewy perfection, you can leave them to cool a little before you glaze them. We’re looking for a thin drizzly glaze. This is an affair that requires a light hand. I’ve chosen to put lemon thyme into my glaze because I absolutely adore an unexpected flavour to pop up in my baking.
This idea was adopted from my friend Sarah who runs the Noisette Bakehouse. She’s always inspired me with her use of flavour combinations and her artistic style.
Thanks so much for reading and cooking along with me! If you make these bars or have a question, I’d love it if you left a comment and a rating. You can also follow along on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram to see what we’re eating, pinning and a little behind the scenes too!
Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Cookie Bars
Strawberry Rhubarb Filling
- 2 cups chopped strawberries
- 1 cup chopped rhubarb
- 1/2 granulated caster sugar
- 1/3 cup lemon juice approx. 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
For the Glaze
- 3 Tbsp icing sugar
- 1-2 Tbsp water
- 1 sprig thyme leaves
- Line an 8-9 inch square metal pan with baking parchment. Set aside.
Strawberry Rhubarb Filling
- In a saucepan, bring the fruit, sugar and lemon juice to the boil; reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Whisk the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water; whisk into strawberries and rhubarb and boil, stirring until thickened, about 1 minute. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface, so a skin doesn’t form, and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the oats, flour, brown sugar, lemon zest, salt and butter. Blend on the pulse setting until a breadcrumb texture is achieved, about 1 minute. Press half of the mixture into the prepared pan; being sure that you’ve pressed firmly. Spread with the strawberry rhubarb filling. Sprinkle with the remaining mixture, pressing lightly.
- Preheat the oven to 350f (180c) and bake the bars until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack. Cut into squares.
For the Glaze
Mix the icing sugar with the water and add the lemon thyme leaves. Drizzle the glaze over bars
Optional: Garnish with flower petals and more herb leaves.
Cook’s notes 1: You need to bring the filling mixture to a boil once you’ve added the cornstarch to achieve maximum thickening potential and cookout the taste to the starch.
Cook’s notes 2: These bars can be made ahead and frozen before slicing. Simple bake and once cool, wrap and store in a double layer of foil before freezing. To defrost, just leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes. OR Cut and freeze individually to have a grab and go snack.