These Nutty Low FODMAP Strawberry Oat Squares were created by Hilary Hursh and the recipe made her the winner of our FODMAP Everyday® Low FODMAP Quarantine Sweet Cookoff, which we ran through Facebook in April 2020. It was a virtual cookoff! Avid LOFO cooks presented the judges with recipes, images and explanations about why the dish was low FODMAP. Hilary won the Monash University Patient’s Course, among other prizes.
As Hilary says these are, “the best of both worlds, crisp on the outside, chewy in the middle,” and I couldn’t agree more. Perfect description. Easy to make too. You create an oaty, nutty, crumbly dough, which functions as the bottom layer as well as the top, and low FODMAP strawberry preserves are spread in the middle. Baked in a square pan, they are firm enough to eat out-of-hand, but tender the same time.
The judges loved the comfort-food feel to her recipe, plus it was creative and took advantage of what she had on hand, which was part of the goal during our quarantine cooking. She didn’t have access to eggs, which she was nervous about, but it sure didn’t end up mattering at all! We love these Low FODMAP Nutty Strawberry Oat Squares!
They are easy enough for beginner bakers, kids can help, and they function as snack, treat or dessert. Or, I even had one for breakfast with some plain yogurt alongside with my tea. I felt so civilized during my sheltering at home!
Ingredients For Nutty Low FODMAP Strawberry Oat Squares
You already know that you don’t need eggs! The rest of the ingredients are readily part of the low FODMAP kitchen.
Please note that Hilary provided gram amounts; we added approximate volume amounts based on her information.
Flour – King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour was specified by Hilary, and I always have some in the Test Kitchen, so I used it as well. You can read more about flours in our article on Choosing Low FODMAP, Gluten-Free Flour. The choice of flour will make a difference and you definitely want a blend that contains xanthan gum, per Hilary’s recommendation.
Salt – Hilary used ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Kosher salt and table salt measure very differently. To remain consistent with the way we bake at FODMAP Everyday®, we used table salt, which dissolves so well when baking, and we used less.
Milk – 2% Lactose-Free cow’s milk was Hilary’s choice. I used LF whole milk, because that is what I had on hand, and it worked beautifully.
Strawberry Jam/Preserves – Hilary used Bon Maman because that is what she had. I used Trader Joe’s Strawberry Preserves, because that is what I had. The flavor of the bars will depend on the jam you use. I like to use jams that list fruit before sugar on the ingredient list for maximum fruit flavor.
How To Make Nutty Low FODMAP Strawberry Oat Squares
Prepping the Pan – Hilary used a buttered foil sling in her pan. I chose to use parchment paper and used nonstick spray, because that is the typical pan prep that I like to use.
Mixing – I used my stand-mixer. I keep it on my counter, since I use it so often, and it always makes things easier to mix. That said, this recipe can be made by hand. The only trick is to pay attention to her directions in the step where she directs you to test the dough with your fingers, as seen below. It should hold together. Whether you are using a stand mixer, hand-held electric mixer or making by hand, you have to keep beating and blending until it holds together.
First, simply combine dry ingredients and cut in the cold, grated butter. That’s right! Grated on a box grater. This is a fabulous technique that allows you to incorporate cold butter into a dry mixture easily.
Then lactose-free milk is added to the mixture, as seen below. At first, it will not incorporate very well and the mixture will look dry.
This is the stage where you have to keep mixing! Whether you are mixing by hand, using a hand-held mixer or are using a stand mixer – JUST KEEP MIXING until it holds together like this:
Then, you divide the doughy in half, which you can do by eye, and pat half of it into the prepared pan. Scatter it into the pan –
Then use your hand to pat it in, evenly covering the bottom of the pan.
Now spread the strawberry jam over the bottom layer:
Back to the reserved half of the dough – scatter it on top, over the jam, and press down evenly. You might see some jam peeking out here and there. That’s okay!
Baking – This is simple too; just bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center will test clean.
After cooling, the entire square can easily be unmolded with the help of the overhanging parchment paper.
Here is a side shot. Look at the yummy strawberry jam filling! You can see the blue bag of King Arthur Measure for Measure Gluten Free Flour in the background.
These bars are so easy to make. What are you waiting for? Let’s get baking!
How Hilary Won Our Contest!
Here were the contest rules. The contestants had to choose 5 out of 12 items that we presented them with, and then they could also use whatever else they wanted.
Here were their choices:
1. A whole grain
2. Something from a box (not an Amazon box!)
3. Something red
4. A sweetener other than white granulated sugar
5. Something about to go-out-of-date
6. Use a round pan
7. Lactose-free dairy or low FODMAP alt dairy
8. A canned product
9. A tropical fruit
11. Spices (your choice or multiple)
12. Use oven heat higher than 350°F (180°C)
Then, they also had to include:
- The name of the dish
- Ingredients and preparation
- Which items were used from our list
- Explanation of why the dish is low FODMAP, using the Monash app as reference
Entries were judged on the following:
- Presentation (this includes the food and setting)
- Use of Ingredients
- Dish the judges most want to eat
- Description of why the dish is low FODMAP using the Monash University Smartphone App for information
Here is Hilary’s pic below! She is in the coffee industry, so of course she had coffee featured with her moka pot. And BTW, these Low FODMAP Strawberry Oat Squares are absolutely perfect with a steaming hot cup of coffee.
Here is Hilary’s breakdown, which she provided in her submission:
- A whole grain- rolled oats
- Something red- strawberry preserves
- A sweetener other than white granulated sugar- light brown sugar
- Lactose free dairy- Lactaid milk
- Nuts- walnuts
- Spices- cinnamon
This recipe makes a total of 16 squares and is low FODMAP at the indicated serving size of 1 square according to the Monash University App.
- Butter is low FODMAP at 1 tablespoon, each serve contains 1 ½ teaspoons.
- Brown sugar is low FODMAP at 40g, each bar contains about 10 grams.
- Walnuts are low FODMAP at 30 grams, each square contains about 5 grams.
- Rolled oats are low FODMAP at a 52 gram serving, each square contains about 6 grams.
- Strawberry jam is low FODMAP at 2 tablespoon, each square contains 1 tablespoon.
Don’t you love how well she has studied and learned about the diet? Once you spend time with the Monash app, all of this kind of information will become memorized and working with the diet will become easier and easier.
We are so excited that Hilary gets to take the Monash Patient Course, which you should look into as well if you are following the diet – and if you are reading this, that means all of you! You can read my review of the course, here.
And here is a little background on our winner, in her words:
“I am a Food Scientist by education and have spent about 20 years working in the food industry in product and ingredient development roles. Working with food and taste testing all day can be a huge challenge when you are struggling with digestive issues. Once I learned about the low FODMAP diet, I realized that I was working with a lot of high FODMAP ingredients (high fructose corn syrup, inulin, polyols, etc.), which helped to explain a lot of the ups and downs I was experiencing. I have been following a modified low-FODMAP diet for over 6 years now and have been happy to see awareness of the diet increase and new compliant food products enter the market over that time. Having a community like FODMAP Everyday® as a source of information and recipes, as well as a connection to others struggling to follow the diet, is a tremendous help in being successful and minimizing symptoms.
Low FODMAP Nutty Strawberry Oat Squares
The best of both worlds, crisp on the outside, chewy in the middle. Easy to make too. You create an oaty, nutty, crumbly dough, which functions as the bottom layer as well as the top, and low FODMAP strawberry preserves are spread in the middle. Baked in a square pan, they are firm enough to eat out-of-hand, but tender, too.
- Scant 1 ½ cups (210 g) low-FODMAP low FODMAP, gluten free all-purpose flour with xanthan gum, such as King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder; use gluten-free if following a gluten-free diet
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113 g; 1 stick) cold unsalted butter, grated with a box grater
- Heaping ¾ cup (85 g) toasted walnuts, finely chopped
- 1 cup (100g) old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¾ cup (165g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) lactose free milk or low FODMAP milk alternative
- 1 cup (280 g) low FODMAP strawberry jam
Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat to 350°F (180°C). Line an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan with parchment paper over-hanging on two sides. Coat paper and pan with nonstick spray.
Add flour, kosher salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon to a large bowl, stir to combine. Add grated butter to dry ingredients, toss to combine. Add chopped walnuts, rolled oats, and light brown sugar.
Using hands, rub dry ingredients together with butter until uniform (or do all of this in a mixer).
Add milk, stirring gently to evenly moisten all ingredients. Dough should hold together when squeezed with hands.
Assemble Bars: Place half of the dough mixture into the prepared 8-inch (20 cm) pan, pat down firmly into an even layer. Spread jam evenly over dough. Sprinkle remaining dough over the jam layer and pat down firmly.
Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes until uniformly golden brown. Allow to cool in the pan, set on rack, for about an hour. Remove from the pan using parchment, peel parchment away and cut into 16 even squares.
Our recipes are based on Monash University and FODMAP Friendly science.
Sugar: Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested white, granulated sugar. Monash states that a Green Light low FODMAP serving size of white sugar is ¼ cup (50 g). FODMAP Friendly simply states that they have tested 1 tablespoon and that it is low FODMAP. Regular granulated white sugar is sucrose, which is a disaccharide made up of equal parts glucose and fructose. Sucrose is broken down and absorbed efficiently in the small intestine.
Please always refer to the Monash University & FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps for the most up-to-date lab tested information. As always, your tolerance is what counts; please eat accordingly. The ultimate goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible, without triggering symptoms, for the healthiest microbiome.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.