Adapted from FatFreeVeganKitchen. Yes, another vegan recipe, but don't write it off just yet. I don't know about you, but I'm trying to watch what I eat and at the same time, I'm not willing to totally forego baked goods. These are a good compromise. Also, using your food processor to make these is a must but that also means pretty quick clean up since you can just throw it all in the dishwasher after you're done. I hope you all have dishwashers.
Anyway, Susan used blueberries in her posting of the recipe but as much as I love blueberries, I was looking for something different. Also, these aren't truly vegan because I use honey in lieu of agave nectar but I say whatever to that anyway. To me, it's the same and all stores carry honey. Now, on to the recipe!
1 jar morello cherries from Trader Joe's, drained with liquid reserved (about 12 oz without liquid)
Add enough cherries, fresh or frozen to make one lb. of total fruit (I made sure to run a knife through everything as a means of checking for pits but also to make sure the cherries were more bite-sized)
1/4 cup reserved cherry juice mixed with 2 Tbs cornstarch, shake to form a slurry
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups oatmeal, rolled oats not instant
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbs honey
6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 375F. Oil an 8x8-inch baking dish.
In a small saucepan, combine the cherries and juice/cornstarch slurry. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, stir in the vanilla and continue to stir as the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
Put 1 1/2 cups of the oatmeal into a food processor (or blender) and grind it to a fine powder. Add the cinnamon, baking powder, and salt, pulse to combine. Add the apple sauce, agave nectar, water, and vanilla, and pulse until fully mixed. Add reserved oats and pulse briefly until just combined. Don't overmix.
Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing well to cover the bottom of the pan. Spoon the cherry filling over the batter and cover with the remaining batter.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars. Makes 16 bars. When cool, dust with 10X sugar or make a glaze with 10X sugar and a bit of water. These are absolutely decadent when served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream but are also good plain.
Note: if you can't find or don't want to use morello cherries, you can use 1 lb. fresh or frozen cherries but you'll probably want to add some sweetener when you boil them. If you like it tart, so be it, but I must say this was very, very good with the morellos.