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Peach Oat Bars

Hearty and not too sweet, these bars make a great quick breakfast, lunchtime treat or mid-afternoon snack. They’re also a great use for imperfect peaches.

Ingredients
Filling:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
6 peaches, rinsed, quartered and pitted (but not peeled)

Cookie and topping:
3 cups rolled oats* (not quick oats)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 egg

*Look for thick-cut oats sold in the “natural foods” section of the store, such as the Silver Palate Thick & Rough Oatmeal or Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats.

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or butter a 9-by-9-inch pan and line it with parchment paper; grease the top of the paper. Set aside.

2. In a food processor or blender, combine the sugar, cornstarch, cardamom and ginger; pulse to combine. Add the peach quarters and blend until pureed (it’s OK if there are a few small chunks of fruit). Transfer to a saucepan and simmer over medium heat, stirring to prevent burning, until the mixture is thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl stir together the melted butter, brown sugar and honey, then pour over the oat mixture. Stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened and mixture is well combined.

4. Divide the oat mixture in half. In one half, crack the egg; mix until well blended. Using a wooden spoon or your fingers, press this mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the peach mixture evenly on top, and then sprinkle with the remaining oat mixture.

5. Bake until golden, 35-40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into 36 squares.

Makes 36 squares. Preparation time: 25 minutes. Baking time: 35 minutes