Adventures in the Kitchen: Oatmeal-Pecan Spice Bars with Balsamic Apple Glaze…and an Improvisation

I love experimenting in the kitchen. It’s become kind of a joke that whenever we have company or if I’m asked to bring something to a gathering, I don’t usually choose the wise route and make a good stand-by recipe. I’m often inspired to try something new and test it out on friends and family.  Sometimes this works out well…and sometimes you end up with “Strawberry Glue Pie” (ugh).

This is one of my experiments that turned out well…SO well, in fact, that I’ve made it over and over again!  The last time I made these bars, however, I got part way through the recipe and realized I didn’t have half the ingredients on hand (sigh), and I didn’t have time to run to the store (double sigh).  So, kitchen adventurer that I am, I improvised. And the improvisation turned out even better than the original!  Here is my recipe for Oatmeal Pecan Spice Bars with Balsamic Apple Glaze and the improvised Oatmeal Apple Butter Bars with Caramel Apple Glaze.

Oatmeal Pecan Spice Bars

1 Cup Sugar

½ C Molasses

1 C Butter-flavored shortening

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Nutmeg

1 tsp Vanilla

½ tsp salt

2 large eggs

½ C crushed pecans (optional)

2 C oats

2 C flour

Pre-heat oven to 375. Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Combine ingredients —except for pecans, oats and flour— together in large mixing bowl and mix well.  Stir in remaining ingredients. Press into prepared pan and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Balsamic Apple Glaze

Combine 1 ½ C powdered sugar with 2 Tbs apple juice, 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Whisk well. Add more powdered sugar—a tablespoon at a time—as needed, to make a spreadable consistency. (Hint: A pinch of salt may help if the glaze becomes too sweet.)  Spread over semi-cool bars and serve.


The Improvisation: Oatmeal Apple-Butter Bars with Caramel Apple Glaze

1 Cup Sugar

½ Cup Butter

½ Cup Apple Butter

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 large eggs

2 C oats

2 C flour

Preheat oven to 375. Spray 9×13 pan well with cooking spray.

Combine ingredients—except for oats and flour—in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.  Stir in oats and flour and mix well. Press mixture into the bottom of the prepared 9×13 pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Caramel Apple Glaze

In a saucepan, over low heat, combine ½ Cup powdered sugar, 1 Cup brown sugar, 1 Tbs butter, 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of salt.  Whisk together until melted and bubbling. Allow to cool slightly before spreading over cooled bars.


2 thoughts on “Adventures in the Kitchen: Oatmeal-Pecan Spice Bars with Balsamic Apple Glaze…and an Improvisation

  1. Pingback: The End of October | Letters From Home

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