Whole wheat raisin bars are a perfect cross between a wholesome snack bar and a buttery cookie. Freezer-friendly and great for meal prep!
You know those recipes that drastically exceed expectations?
These whole wheat raisin bars are one of them. I had the idea for the recipe in my mind. I suspected I’d like them. After all, it’s not hard to sell me on soft, cookie-like layers of dough and a dried fruit center.
But the bars turned out to be so much more tender, buttery, and tasty than I was expecting. Within moments of trying one, I knew I’d make them as one of my edible holiday gifts for friends next week. And I was reasonably sure that I’d make a double batch so that I could snack on them, too.
Even better? The bars are made with sprouted, whole wheat flour and rolled oats. Which makes them a little more wholesome than they would be otherwise. It also gives them a rich, nutty flavor that works so well with the sweet raisin interior.
One of the most common questions I’m asked about my baking recipes is, can this be made with whole wheat flour?
The answer is…maybe.
Whole wheat flours don’t work exactly like all-purpose flour does. Whole wheat flour, which is made by grinding up all parts of the wheat berry. The ground wheat bran can impede development of gluten strands in baking.
This is why whole wheat baked goods can sometimes be less tender, have less rise, or be denser than cakes or breads made with all-purpose flour.
So no, you can’t always substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose. If you do, you may need to start by substituting 10 or 25% of the original flour for whole wheat, to see what your baking results are like.
These whole wheat raisin bars are one of those recipes!
If you are able to use whole wheat flour in baking, there are some wonderful benefits that come along with it.
Whole wheat flour is richer in fiber than all-purpose. Because the whole wheat germ is used, it’s also got richer amounts of vitamins and minerals. Whole wheat flour (and most whole grain foods) are often higher in protein than refined grain counterparts.
My whole wheat flour of choice is the Sprouted Whole Wheat Flour from One Degree Organics.
This flour is made not only from whole wheat, but sprouted whole wheat. Sprouting can help to make the nutrients in the wheat more bioavailable.
Beyond that, One Degree flours are organic and veganic (which means that they’re cultivated with plant-based fertilizers).
One of the things I love so much about One Degree Organics and its products is that the brand puts transparency at front and center. One Degree foods come with scannable QR codes on the packages. When you pull them up, they teach you more about the farmer who produced the grains, oats, legumes, or seeds.
These raisin bars contain not only the One Degree Sprouted whole grain flour, but One Degree’s quick oats, too.
These are my favorite oats, period. They’re tender, sweet smelling, have an incredible texture, and they’re grown without glyphosate. I make them for breakfast all the time, but I also love to bake with them.
In this recipe, I grind up a cup of oats and add them to the flour. This serves two purposes: first, it infuses the recipe with the whole grain goodness and soluble fiber of the oats.
Second, I think the homemade oat “flour” actually helps to lighten and tenderize the dough. It’s a perfect compliment to the whole wheat flour.
Here are a few other baked treats that I’ve made with One Degree’s fabulous oats:
When I first thought about making them, I imagined a short crust bottom and a streusel top of some sort.
But the more I thought about that, the more it wasn’t exactly what I craved. I like soft, cake-y textures. And What I really wanted was a soft, cake-like bar. Similar to these blueberry oat bars, but with a smoother texture.
I’m so happy that I followed my instincts and made the bars this way. I love their tenderness and chew. As an added bonus, you only need to make one batter for the recipe. No need to create something separate for the top.
Here’s what you’ll need:
It works perfectly in this recipe, with no need for all-purpose. You could, though, substitute spelt flour or white whole wheat flour. And of course, if you don’t have whole wheat flour, all-purpose is fine.
I used my food processor to quickly grind the whole, quick oats into flour. Rolled oats would also work. If you happen to have oat flour at home, you can simply use ¾ cup of it.
I often use a mixture of brown and cane sugar to get the right consistency (light, yet moist) in baked goods. You could use all of one or the other, if you need to. I also love baking with coconut sugar!
When I gave a sneak peek of these bars on Instagram, a lot of people asked whether they were date or fig bars.
In theory? They could be. But making the whole wheat raisin bars reminded me of how underrated and wonderful raisins can be. They’re inexpensive and easy to find. No wonder I use them so often, especially in salads and cake.
You could use golden raisins or brown. And if you’re dying to use up another dried fruit, you can try one and a half cups of any of the following, chopped:
These bars should be kept at room temperature for up to four days, stored in an airtight container. They make wonderful gifts.
If you need to make them last a little longer, you can freeze them, individually or in bunches, for up to six weeks.
Sometimes I get a little fatigued of holiday cooking. But honestly? I’ve enjoyed every minute of baking and cooking this season. It feels “normal” in a time when so little else does. I hope that new year will bring a return to some of what we know and love, along with a fresh beginning.
Hope you’ll enjoy these buttery, irresistible treats, too. You can head on over to the One Degree Organics website to find the full recipe!
This post is sponsored by One Degree Organic Foods. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support!