Maple Walnut Bars

I gave up chocolate for Lent which has required me to get a little more creative when it comes to things like granola bars and cookies.  I have a total sweet tooth and although I usually have at least one sweet item to eat a day I like to keep them full of good stuff and healthier sweeteners to justify it.
I found a recipe in this book  for a peanut bar and changed it up to get a Maple Walnut Bar.  The maple flavor in this is subtle so if you want the maple to really pop you may want to substitute the vanilla extract for maple extract.  Toasting the walnuts is also optional but it’s really good.
Maple Walnut Bars
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla (or maple) extract
1 1/2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup toasted walnuts
To toast walnuts: bring a frying pan to medium high heat and toss in the walnuts.  Stir constantly until they start to brown a bit more and become aromatic.
Cream together the butter and sugar and add in maple syrup, egg, and extract.  Beat for about 2 mins.
Mix your dry ingredients together, including the walnuts and add them to the butter mixture.  Mix well.
Pour your batter into a well greased 8×8 inch pan and top with a couple more walnut pieces.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 20-25 mins. Check often after the 20 min mark.  Maple syrup browns pretty quickly so you want a nice golden brown bar that’s not wet in the middle.
Let your bars cool then cut and eat!

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