I first made a version of these in 2012, based on a piece I had read about baking without flour. Back then, I used quinoa flakes as the binder. Now that certified gluten-free oats are more widely available, I like these even better. They’re wholesome and sweet, but not unbearably sweet. We have an end-of-school-year party to attend on Wednesday in Lucy’s class. I’ll bring these, since they contain sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter. Even without flour, these bar cookies are a big hit.
Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
Making the dough. Put the sunflower seed butter, the coconut sugar, and the cane sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. (You could probably mix this all by hand, as well.) Run the mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed until the butter and sugars are light and fluffy together. Add the oats and mix until combined. Add the egg and mix until there is no visible egg in the dough. Add the baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract and mix the dough. Toss in the almond slices and dried cherries and mix until just combined.
Baking the dough. At this point, the dough will be sticky to the touch. Plop the ball of dough in the baking pan. Lightly grease one of your hands with a touch of oil. Use that hand to spread the dough out to all the edges of the pan, evenly. Bake until the center is starting to be firm to the touch and the edges are pulling away from the edges of the pan, about 30 minutes. Allow the bar cookies to cool completely before cutting into them.
Feel like playing? You could use almond butter, cashew butter, or peanut butter in place of the sunflower seed butter. I really love the taste of sunflower seed butter. Using sunflower seed butter means these are same for kids with peanut and nut allergies, as well.
Of course, if you are going to be serving this to someone with nut allergies, be sure to sub in something different for the slivered almonds. Another fruit? Chocolate chips?