Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars

Breakfast Fridaaaayyyy, people!

Today I'm sharing a recipe that I've been meaning to make for awhile now. And by awhile, I mean years. Why do I even make to-do lists?

This post is sponsored by Rodelle. All products have been tested and approved by my taste buds.

Soft Batch Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

My goal was to make a breakfast bar that actually holds you over the entire morning, doesn't fall apart when you bite into it, and is also super thick and chewy. Too much to ask? I think not.

Oh, they also must be studded with Rodelle vanilla beans and laced with a subtle hint of maple syrup.

It's like oatmeal to go. Handheld oatmeal! Whatever you want to call it, I've finally landed on the keeper recipe. It only took a week of my life to figure this one out, with the slightest of tweaks each round. 

Ground Oats + Walnuts for Soft Batch Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

The point of this recipe was to provide a super nutritious, handheld breakfast, with tons of chew and light on the sweetness. Easy for the kiddos to grab + go, but equally as awesome for adults. They're not supposed to be like bread or cake or muffins. This is an every-day-of-the-week type breakfast.

However, you can jazz it up with a dutch chocolate drizzle when you feel like you need a little treat-yo-self action. Like on a Friday. Like I just did today. Paired with a pumpkin spice latte from Angela

And speaking of Angela, I'm in the home stretch of photographing her second cookbook! I've been shooting 6-7 days/week for the past 3 months and eating my face off the entire time. I cannot even begin to explain how killer the recipes are. Every single one of them!

And the collaboration doesn't stop there! I'm now photographing for her blog! It started with that pumpkin spice latte I mentioned above. Pretty dang cool. Someone pinch me.

Soft Batch Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

Now back to these oatmeal bars and those tiny flecks of vanilla beans.

Do you ever think about things like, how were vanilla beans discovered? Who split the first one open and was all, "let's mix these into some muffins or ice cream!" I'm well aware that was probably not how they were first used. But, if you've ever actually tasted vanilla beans straight from the pod, your first thought probably wouldn't be to add them to food. They're pretty potent when not dispersed in something sweet. So I'm curious when the first person decided to use vanilla beans in cooking. Someone tell me!!! (I'm aware of the site called Google.)

Rodelle Vanilla Beans used in Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

I've been continuously impressed with the quality of vanilla beans I've used from Rodelle (and their extracts!). They're almost juicy when you slice into them and have a hefty amount of beans inside. You may remember my first collaboration with Rodelle a few months back. You know, the vanilla muffins. I so appreciate their attentiveness to not only the quality of their products, but to how they treat their farmers and give back to the farming communities. 

Dutch Chocolate Drizzle on Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

Now. As far as toppings go, it's all up to you. PB + jelly is one of my favs but the dutch cocoa drizzle isn't too shabby either. 

These bars are substantial. They're thick + chewy and meant to be that way. They're very similar in texture to a Bobo's Oat Bar, if you've ever tried one of those. If you slice them into 5 bars it's like eating 1/2 cup of oatmeal with walnuts, almond butter, and a few other ingredients mixed in. Breakfast of champions.

Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

Print Recipe!

Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars

gluten-free + vegan // yields: 5 servings

  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup walnut halves + pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons creamy natural almond butter (oil drained off top and stirred well)
  • 1 Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1 teaspoon Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line an 8x4" bread pan with parchment so it covers the bottom and long sides of the pan only. Grease the small ends of the pan with coconut oil.

Place oats in your food processor and process for about 8-10 seconds until coarsely ground. You want some whole oats to remain. (Refer to photo 2.) Empty into a large mixing bowl. Add walnuts to the processor and process until you're left with pebble-sized pieces. A few larger pieces are fine. Empty into the mixing bowl and add the salt. Stir well.

Melt the coconut oil and pour into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk in the maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla beans, and vanilla extract vigorously, until fully combined. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix with a large spoon until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Use your hands if needed.

Pour in the water and mix with a large spoon until fully incorporated. Let sit for 5 minutes. The texture should be like very thick oatmeal. Empty into the pan and spread firmly with the back of the spoon or a spatula. Make sure it's level and spread from edge to edge. Bake for 16-20 minutes. The center will be slightly soft to the touch (not wet) and the edges will be more firm.

Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan. Carefully lift the block out by the parchment sides and place on a cooling rack (with parchment still attached). Let fully cool. Remove parchment. Slice into 5 bars or 10 squares.


  • If you don't have vanilla beans on hand, simply substitute 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (in total).
  • Store in a sealed container on the counter or in the fridge. Top as desired before eating. Heat before eating if desired. Bars hold together really well and don't need refrigeration to stay together. Perfect for packed lunches or breakfast to go! If adding the chocolate drizzle, you'll want to keep them refrigerated.
  • You can most likely double this recipe and bake in an 8x8 pan. Baking time may increase slightly. A 9x5 pan will also work. Bars will be slightly thinner and bake time will decrease by a few minutes. If you don't have parchment paper, thoroughly grease the pan with softened coconut oil. Cool in the pan for 45 minutes, then loosen the edges with a butter knife. Cover the top of the pan with one hand and flip over. Place right side up on a cooling rack and let fully cool.

Dutch Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons dutch processed cocoa, sifted (or unsweetened cocoa/cacao powder)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)

Melt the coconut oil and pour into a small mixing bowl. Whisk in all other ingredients until smooth. Pour into a small ziploc bag and seal. Cut a tiny corner from the bottom of the bag and gently squeeze to drizzle over the bars. Refrigerate bars until chocolate has hardened. Eat or keep stored in a sealed container in the fridge. Chocolate softens quickly at room temp.

Thick and Chewy Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars |

Happy weekending. 


This post was sponsored by Rodelle. Opinions are always my own and products are thoroughly tested before sharing. Thank you for supporting the occasional sponsored post that helps fund all the deliciousness you find here!

Pumpkin Spice Hemp Milk

Can we not talk about the embarrassing amount of time that's gone by since my last post? 

Perfect! Thank you. I love you guys so dang much for understanding.

Hulled Hemp Seeds for Pumpkin Spice Hemp Milk |

Part of the reason it's been awhile since my last post is that my recipe ideas have been few and far between. For the past few months all of my creative energy has been going into photography. So rather than try and force a recipe I waited until I came up with something that was worth sharing. And also until I had time to share it. 

Pumpkin Puree for Pumpkin Spice Hemp Milk |

Although it still feels like summer in Colorado, I have fall on the brain. Possibly my favorite time of year. Jeans, sweatshirts, pumpkin in everything. The absolute best. 

I was trying to think of how to use pumpkin in a fresh, new way this year. In the past I've used it in a single serving muffin, buckwheat bakes, breakfast cookies, granola, the best ever pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin oatmeal cookie s'mores, milkshakes, pumpkin spice swirl brownies, soft batch cookies, and almond butter cups.  For the love of pumpkin.

Pumpkin Spice Hemp Milk recipe for fall |

So how could I change things up this year?

Um. Hello. Pumpkin spice hemp milk! I was thinking about hemp milk and how it has a naturally earthy flavor. And also how it's loaded with healthy fats and so many other nutritional benefits. But I know some people aren't the biggest fans of its earthy taste. So my thinking was, maybe the pumpkin spices would compliment but also help mask the hemp flavor. And it did just that!

You can still taste the hemp but the pumpkin spice flavors blend together perfectly.

Pumpkin Spice Hemp Milk |

But juuuust in case you think hemp milk tastes like dirt (it's fine, I understand), I also made pumpkin spice almond milk using blanched almonds. (Check the tips below the recipe!)

BTW - If you didn't know, blanched almonds are THE WAY TO GO when making homemade almond milk. (I discovered this when I made Vanilla Bean Almond Milk awhile back.) Using blanched almonds will avoid that bitter, funky flavor caused by the skins of almonds. You can either buy blanched almonds or soak raw almonds for 8+ hours and easily remove the skins. You won't believe the taste!

The milk (both versions) thickens up quite a bit, especially once refrigerated. The thickness lands somewhere between your average nut-milk and a smoothie. I have been pouring it over granola, using it when cooking oatmeal (with a bit of water), and enjoying it as a post-workout recovery drink. The hemp version is especially packed with protein, healthy fats, magnesium, iron, and other important minerals. It also gets a big boost of vitamin A from the pumpkin and anti-inflammatory properties from the turmeric.

Plus it tastes like liquid pumpkin pie!!!!!!!!

Print Recipe!

Pumpkin Spice Hemp Milk

gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, refined sugar free // yields: appx. 32oz

  • 4-5 medjool dates, pitted
  • 3 cups water 
  • 1 cup hulled hemp seeds (aka: hemp hearts)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 - 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1-2 small pinches clove
  • pinch of salt

Soak the pitted dates in a small bowl of hot water for 10-20 minutes. Make sure you're using fresh dates (they should be sticky/gooey) for this recipe.

Place the soaked dates along with all other ingredients (starting with the lesser amount for the pumpkin + spices) in your blender. Turn on low and work up to high, blending for about 1 minute. You want to make sure the dates are fully incorporated. Taste and add more spices if desired. (I preferred the higher measurement for each.) For a slightly thicker texture, add another 1/4 cup of pumpkin.

Pour into an airtight jar and keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. Shake well before using. 


  • This will also work with sweet potato puree and butternut squash puree.
  • The turmeric was added for its nutritional benefits and to enhance the yellow-orange color.
  • If you're not going to use all of the milk, pour into ice cube trays to freeze then store the cubes in a freezer bag. Or, pour into a freezer bag and squeeze excess air out. Lay flat on a freezer shelf until frozen. Thaw in the fridge when desired.
  • For less hemp flavor, blend the water and hemp seeds together first. Then strain the hemp milk into a large bowl using a nut milk bag. Save or discard the hemp pulp. Rinse out your blender. Pour the strained hemp milk back into your blender and proceed with adding the other ingredients.
  • For the Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk version: Use 1 cup blanched almonds instead of hemp seeds. Use 3-4 medjool dates. All other ingredients stay the same. First, blend the almonds and water together. Place a nut milk bag over a large bowl and pour the milk through. Gently squeeze to help strain the milk. Save or discard the almond pulp. Rinse your blender and place the strained almond milk back in the blender. Proceed with adding the other ingredients and blending. Taste and adjust as desired. Refrigerate for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk |

I'm already working on a few new breakfast recipe ideas for the coming weeks. I am not anticipating another 1 1/2 months of silence, so check back soon! Somewhat soon. Like in a week! Hopefully! You guys rule.

Happy Monday. Now go make this milk.