Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ginger oatmeal flax spice cookie bars

The "Cornerstore" on campus sells large, individually packaged cookies which are very tasty, and very expensive ($1.50 each). I can't remember the brand but I know they are locally-made. At first I scoffed at the price, but on closer inspection, the flavours intrigued me so much that I caved in. Cookies that I have eaten or want to eat:
  • Ginger flax cookie - chunks of crystallized ginger, molasses, flax, rye flakes. They also used canola oil, which I felt made it tasty kind of greasy. I enjoyed the chewy texture and the "healthiness" of it, but felt I could do better. More on that below.
  • Lemon poppyseed - like the muffin, but in cookie form. No complaints but not a favourite. More crumbly than chewy, tending more towards a shortbread.
  • Green tea cookie - green tea, dried cranberries, possibly some nuts, (I nibbled on this during a lecture so I wasn't paying attention), and a chunk of chocolate in the middle. This one was tasty and I'd consider buying another one.
  • Hot! chocolate - a spicy chocolate chip chocolate cookie! Ooo. I haven't seen this again since the one day I happened to notice it, so I'm waiting impatiently for them to come in again so I can try one.
To take a break from doing chemistry and physics homework yesterday, I did some research online and came up with my own recipe for a better version of the ginger flax cookie. Of course, I'm too lazy to dole out cookie dough on multiple cookie sheets, and plus, I only have one sheet, so I decided to make bars instead, using a combination of recipes I found online and hoping for the best. My roommate said I was brave to invent baking recipes, having screwed up too many recipes. What can I say - I bake on the edge. Well, not really. But in the end, they turned out very nicely indeed. (Unlike this photo taken by my phone camera, which is pretty bad.) 

Sweet, chewy, soft, and full of autumny flavours: ginger, cinnamon, cloves, apples.
And now, about the recipe. 
  • It is quite heavy on the crystallized ginger, but I feel that their natural chewiness makes them perfect for bars. There is quite a bit of sugar on them already, so I didn't need to add any extra - only a little honey, since I needed a little extra moistness. 
  • You'd think with all the oats and flax that they'll turn out like a granola bar, but there are enough other cookie-dough ingredients that make them turn out very oatmeal-cookie-ish in texture. 
  • Instead of gross tasting canola, I used a combination of applesauce and butter. Mostly applesauce, really, since these are all oatmeally and healthy. But a little bit of butter is always necessary for that je ne sais quoi in baked goods.
  • As a side note, it seems I can't seem to stop making bulleted lists anymore. But you gotta admit, they do make for easier reading...
Ginger oatmeal flax spice cookie bars
1.5 cups old fashioned (big flakes) rolled oats
3/4 cup flax meal
1.5 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix dry ingredients together. And preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Make a well and add wet ingredients.
3. Mix well with a spatula and/or hands.
4. Press tightly into an appropriately-sized greased pan (I think mine was 8" by 8"). 
5. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the edges start to brown a little.
6. I cut this into pieces while it was still warm, though they aren't hard, so it probably doesn't matter.


  1. Hi! So my questions is: did you LIKE these? I just made them because I'm always making concoctions of ingredients just like these. I'm not sure anyone I know would call them good...though I just ate a chunk and sort of enjoyed it; more the texture of it than anything. Good experiment though. Thank you for sharing. I love baking and don't regret making them for the fun of it, though I will not be making them again. :)

  2. *chuckle*... Yeah, I did like them, and my roommate seemed to - she ate a lot of them.

    I'm sorry you didn't really, though. Oh well. Was it too much ginger? :) Cheers!

  3. HI Charlie, I feel bad now for such a discouraging comment because I ended up REALLY liking them, shared them with a van full of people on a road trip and they ALL liked them. My first impression was a little dissappointing I think because I was expecting something slightly sweeter, when that makes no sense because one reason I made them was because they were reduced significantly in sugar and I like not-too-sweet baked goods.

    So, if I may change my opinion of your recipe, I would like to say that I really liked it as a good granola-bar type of treat. Good source of energy and an enjoyable way to get it.

    Never again will I post a first impression so quickly after tasting my first bite. Lesson learned.

    Thank you!