I initially thought today’s post wouldn’t be much of a “vintage tradition in today’s kitchen”, but I have since realized I wasn’t thinking back far enough.
I got the recipe for these Apple-Cinnamon Oat Squares from the Jan/Feb Whole Foods “Whole Deal” flier, and I knew I would like these based purely on the ingredients list. They are wholesome (obviously), simple, and proudly rustic.
When I took my first bite, I thought it tasted like my idea of frontier food. Hearty, filling, stick-to-your-ribs and keep-you-going for the whole day kind of food. Truth be told, the texture of these squares on their own outshines the taste…and that also makes me think of wagon trains and whole grains.
Letting my mind wander to “Little House on the Prairie” is one of my favorite things, so I enjoyed this taste bud time travel, but some people might want a bit more flavor.
Sidenote: If I had a blog on the Oregon Trail, that’s what I would call it. Wagon Trains and Whole Grains. Tagline: Because that’s all there is.
Frontier women like Ma Ingalls wouldn’t have had these exact ingredients on hand, but it’s easy to imagine a relative of these Apple-Cinnamon Oat squares, wrapped in paper, carried across the prairie in Laura’s lunch pail.
They are ultra-moist, barely sweet, and heavy on texture. If you want to emphasize the taste with more sweetness you could add some brown sugar or use a sweetened almond milk. I decided to have a square for breakfast this morning, and dressed it up by pouring on a little milk, pure maple syrup, and a sprinkle of dried cherries. After a quick 60 seconds in the microwave I dug in.
Perfection! I bet these could even work as a dessert warmed with some pure maple syrup and vanilla ice cream.
Fun fact…I was eliminated from my 4th grade spelling bee with the word prairie, and its pesky first “I”. I clearly remember I didn’t study the words at all, because I was so sure it would be easy. Oops.
Apple-Cinnamon Oat Squares (now known as Prairie Squares)
Adapted from The Whole Deal Jan/Feb 2011 Issue
2 cups unsweetened almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla)
1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 (around 1 lb.) apples, cored and grated (I used Fuji, WF recommends Pink Lady)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9-inch baking dish with foil or parchment.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and pour into the prepared dish. The batter will be quite fluid.
- Bake until firm and golden brown, around 1 hour.
- Allow to cool in pan, then cut and serve warm or at room temp.