This year for Mother’s Day I sent my mom a copy of “Dulce – Desserts in The Latin American Tradition“. This past weekend when I was home and itching to bake something in my mom’s very well equipped kitchen, I went looking through the book searching for a recipes that would be easily veganized. Alas, I found the perfect one — Oatmeal Guava Bars. For those of you who don’t know, guava is a fruit that is wildly popular in Puerto Rico. You can find it in cheesecake, served alongside cheese, in juice, wrapped in filo dough — it’s DELICIOUS, and when I saw that guava was the main ingredient I knew I had to try these out.
As far as the recipe itself, it only required one simple substitution: butter for Earth Balance. Easy peezy. The process of making them was relatively easy….except for one little part. Guava comes in a thick paste form — the recipe requires you to blend the guava until it has a smooth, easily spreadable consistency. WELL. This was NOT as easy as it sounds. I made a, er, bit of a mess in my kitchen….after trying two food processors and a blender, I finally had to call in for reinforcements: M.O.M. To the rescue she came, and with a hand held blender and a few glugs of soy milk, we were able to FINALLY blend the paste enough until we got it to the right consistency.
The rest was smooth sailing, pun intended. After 45 minutes in the oven, the crumble layer looked perfectly golden. I ended up letting these sit overnight before cutting into them because when they first came out of the oven they were still a bit wet, and cutting would have resulted in a mess (although in hind sight, the kitchen was already a mess, so more guava all over the countertops wouldn’t have made a difference.) By the next morning, they had hardened up and were easy to slice.
These were DELICIOUS. I usually never make anything like this — I stick to chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Using fruit in desserts is something I usually shun (pineapple upside down cake? Bleh!), but I was quite happy with the results here. My sister and dad were obsessed with the crumble layer — if it were up to them I would have made the entire thing crumble ONLY. The guava was perfect as well – now that I no longer live in Puerto Rico, it’s very rare for me to ever eat anything with guava in it. If you’re in the mood to try some latin baking, pick up some guava and give these a shot.
What You Need:
2 cups, 4 stick of Earth Balance
2 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
3 cups rolled oats
3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups guava paste
What You Do:
Pre heat the oven to 325.
Mix the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add in oats, flour, baking powder and salt and mix well until combined. Grease an 11×7 baking pan. Divide the dough and spread half of it along the bottom of the plan, packing it tightly and evenly.
Take the guava and using an electric mixer (lord bless you if you can manage to blend this stuff by hand!), blend the guava until smooth. NOTE: We added in splashes of vanilla soy milk to get the paste to a smoother, more easily manageable consistency. It worked wonders.
Once you have a smooth paste, spread it evenly onto the layer in the pan. Take the other half of the dough, and with your hands, crumble it, breaking it up into pieces. Drop the crumbs onto the guava layer, covering it completely with the dough, making a “crumble” top.
Place in the oven and let bake for 35-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool COMPLETELY. Again — I let mine cool overnight before slicing into it, but an hour would work too.