01 September 2009

Making Over Martha Month Begins!

From September 2009 photos

And, what a beginning it is! To kick off Making Over Martha Month here on Altered Plates, I've veganized and spiced up Martha's Oatmeal-Raisin Bars. The original version was printed on page 103 of Everyday Food, Issue 53, June 2008. I made a boatload of changes to this recipe, i.e., it's a actually a new recipe at this point. Some of the highlights include agave nectar (of course!) for granulated sugar, olive oil for butter, whole wheat pastry flour for AP flour, Pensey's Baking Spice for half the amount of cinnamon, and the wonderful addition of walnuts. How she could have made oatmeal raisin cookies without walnuts is beyond me... but I've corrected that here.

The thing about Baking Spice is that it imbues everything with a wonderful anise, cinnamon, and cardamom mix of flavors. And, in this case, it works marvelously with the Fiore di Sicilia, which is itself a magical ingredient. If I ever decide to make a fruitcake, I would definitely use Baking Spice and Fiore di Sicilia in it.

From September 2009 photos

This rather in-your-face close-up of a bar slice shows the texture of this fragrant treat. Mine was a tiny bit dry because I did not let it cool completely in the pan. (That's a lesson for you -- leave it alone!) My pal Teresa suggested that it would make an excellent crumble over ice cream. We each had a bar with some vegan coconut milk ice cream on top. It was a highly satisfying dessert.

Here's the recipe as I made it:

Spiced Oatmeal Raisin Walnut Bars
Yield: 16 bars


1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon Fiore di Sicilia (if you don't have it, just use vanilla)
1 teaspoon Pensey's Baking Spice (if you don't have it, make a mixture of cinnamon, mace, anise, and cardamom -- 1/4 teaspoon each)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Beat the oil with the agave nectar and Fiore di Sicilia until very well blended.
2. Whisk together the dry ingredients except for the raisins and walnuts, until very well combined. Add in the raisins and walnuts and mix with a big spoon until well combined.
3. Give the wet ingredients one more beating, then add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just moistened.
4. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F, and line an 8 in. square baking dish with two lengths (horizontal and vertical) of parchment paper.
5. Spread the batter into the dish and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a bamboo tester comes out with a few moist crumbs.
6. Let cool completely in the dish, on top of a wire rack, then slice into bars.
7. These will keep in an airtight container for about 5 days, but they certainly won't last that long. They smell and taste terrific!

Overall, this was probably the most fun I've had veganizing a recipe of Martha's. I didn't veganize the other Making Over Martha Month Recipes for September, but if you take the plunge to veganize them, please let me know how it goes. Thanks! Hope you enjoy this recipe.


Qi said...

Hi ... Did you missed out on oatmeal? Is not on the ingredients list.

If agave nectar is available in the place I lived, what would be a good sub?

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Qi! I've just made the correction. If you cannot find agave nectar, you could use maple syrup as a substitute. Otherwise, brown rice syrup or barley malt would work.

Anonymous said...

Well, I for one am glad you made the effort to veganize this one...it sounds fantastic--thank you! I can't wait to try it :-)


Deb Schiff said...

You're welcome, Courtney!

Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

I checked out Martha's, but your version looks way better!

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Alisa! That's awfully nice of you to say. :)

LK Sisters said...

Yum - I love desserts with oats and spices! Anise and cardamom spices sounds like a unique but tasty combination of flavors. Using a nut butter or coconut oil would be good in here - check out lksistersveg.blogspot.com for a giveaway for Artisana nut butter and coconut product sampler. Thanks!

Deb Schiff said...

You are so right, LK Sisters! I'd definitely try this with tahini. Thanks for the giveaway tip!

Farty Girl said...

these look like the perfect mid-day fall snack. I can't wait to try to make a gluten free version!

Deb Schiff said...

I'd bet these would be great with rice and coconut flour. Does barley flour yield a gluten-free version?