While we wait for the marshmallows – Fruity Oat Bars

Waiting for some baked goodiness to cool down enough to eat it, is one of the hardest parts of baking. I’ll keep on dribbling to the kitchen, sniffing up the good aromas, testing if it’s cool enough to cut of a piece, trying to keep in mind these Fruity Oat Bars are completely worth it.


Can you wait?

Suppose you’re in a room with two plates. On one of them is your favorite snack. Let’s say that’s a marshmallow. A really good one, of your favorite brand. On the other plate there are 3 of those same marshmallows. And you’ve been told that you can have that one marshmallow now, or the 3 later when the person returns. He takes the 3 marshmallows with him.

Would you wait till he comes back with the 3 marshmallows?

Can you delay gratification?

Most kids couldn’t! That was the outcome of the now famous Marshmallow Test Walter Mischel conducted in the late 1960s. He was that guy that walked away with the extra marshmallows. Honestly, I don’t know if I could wait an uncertain time for more of the same yumminess.

Yeah, I love marshmallows.

But that was not the only result of the study. Years after the experiment Walter Mischel followed up with the children and got surprised. He found that the tendency to forego something good right now for something a bit later had a lot to do with lower social economic status and obesity. So what’s going on here? Are poorer children more impulsive and not able to fully consider all the consequences of their choice(s)? That’s what we thought for quite some time.

It turns out that’s not what’s going on.

In a recent study, Melissa Sturge-Apple, concluded that children faced with (economic) uncertainty, regularly not knowing when the next meal is, learned that it’s better to grab what’s in front of them. After careful consideration!
When compared to kids from higher socio-economic status the poorer kids deliberately chose to eat that one marshmallow instead of waiting for more, while the richer kids did the exact opposite. Although the test circumstances in an experiment like this were the same for all kids, their normal reality isn’t. And that’s what drives them to different choices. With quite some consequences as you can read about here.

For me, I know I’m just impulsive.

And I love marshmallows.

If I knew these kind of food related studies existed, I might never have left my career as a Sociological Researcher. But hey, I’m here now, so let’s follow up with a recipe. For one of my favorite home made snacks. One that you have to wait for it to cool down and get crunchy: Fruity Oat Bars!

And no, there no marshmallows in it.

Although ….  😉

RECIPE Fruity Oat Bars - blue berry -iillustration - edie eats food blog by Edith Dourleijn-small

Fruity Oat Bars

These Fruity Oat Bars are a great snack that I make regularly, especially when I have a few classes in a row and I know I will skip lunch or dinner.
Usually I keep the sugar, butter, oats and flour base the same, although it’s very easy to vary on it. Sometimes I use half whole wheat, half all-purpose flour, I vary with the sugars and if I want the bars a bit more crumbly, I use coconut oil instead of butter. But more fun is it to swap the fruits and nuts.

I use:
65 g | 4,5 T mix of jam, fruits, nuts – see below
175 g | 1,5 stick butter
150 g | 1 C sugar
175 g | 1,5 C rolled oats
125 g | 3/4 C flour

How to play with these fruity oat bars:
* use 4,5 tablespoons of your favorite jam
* use dried blueberries and 1 star anise (powdered) <- my favorite!
* mix dried cranberries and sunflower seeds
* mix walnuts and dried cherries
* mix dried apricots and hazelnuts
* do as Azalea, from whom I stole the recipe, and make two layers with jam in between. Fresh fruits. Or layer it with minced meat!

I do:
Preheat the oven at 400 F | 200 C.

Chop the fruits and nuts in a food processor. Add butter and sugar and let twirl. Add oats and flour and pulse. No need to over-mix it.

Tip: If you, like me, don’t have a big fancy food processor, but only a small one, manually mix in oats and flour. No food processor at all? Just chop up your fruits, nuts and butter into very small pieces and mix all by hand.

Bake the bars. Put a piece of parchment paper on top of a square tin of 8 inch | 20 cm and dump the dough on top. Gently press it down and flatten until more or less even. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven.

Let cool down. Yep, you’ll have to wait. After 10 minutes, remove from the baking tray and let cool down completely on a rack before cutting into 12 or 14 fruity oat bars.

Enjoy! They’ll stay good for at least a week in an airtight container. You even can freeze them!


3 Replies to “While we wait for the marshmallows – Fruity Oat Bars

  1. I had only ever heard of the first part of this study, thanks for sharing! I bet you could come up with some very interesting food studies of your own… and I love marshmallows too! 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Alexandra! And you’re right, I’ve so many food-related sociological questions now that I could make a career change again! 😉

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