Healthy Strawberry Lemon Bars

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Ingredients

FOR THE STRAWBERRY BARS:

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats — gluten-free if needed

3/4 cup almond flour

1/3 cup Monk Fruit Sweetener (Sugar-free sweetener)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter — melted (or substitute melted coconut oil to make vegan/dairy free)

2 cups small-diced strawberries — about 10 ounces, divided

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice — from about 1/2 small lemon

1 tablespoon Monk Fruit Sweetener (For sprinkling later on)

FOR THE VANILLA GLAZE (OPTIONAL BUT DELICIOUS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU PREFER A SWEETER BAR):

1/2 cup sugar free Monk Fruit powdered sugar — sifted

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk — any kind you like. I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

Instructions

1. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs two sides like handles.

Note: You ca double this recipe and make it in a 13×9 in baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, lemon juice, Monk Fruit sweetener, cornstarch and salt. Pour in the melted butter and stir until it forms clumps and the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumble mixture, then press the rest into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan.

3. Scatter half of the strawberries over the crust. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp cornstarch evenly over the top, along with 1/2 tablespoon Monk Fruit sweetener, then sprinkle on the lemon juice and 1/2 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Scatter on the remaining berries, then the remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs evenly over the top. You will have some fruit showing through.

4. Bake the bars for 35 to 40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbly and the crumb topping smells toasty and looks golden. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely (you can speed this process along in the refrigerator).

5. While the bars cool, prepare the glaze: In a medium bowl, briskly whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth. Feel free to add more milk if a thinner consistency is desired. Put in fridge for about 30 minutes, covered with a damped paper towel to keep the moisture, this will allow your glaze to thicken and become more frosting-like. Using the parchment-paper handles, lift the bars from the pan. Drizzle with glaze, slice, and serve.

Recipe inspiration: https://www.wellplated.com/strawberry-oatmeal-bars/