Our relatively mild winter so far has made for some great opportunities to go snow shoeing. Tramping through the wilderness can really stimulate your appetite, but instead of grabbing one of those energy bars with dubious flavor, I prefer an age old standby: Hudson Bay Bread.
I’m not quite sure how Hudson Bay Bread, also known as oat bars, got its name. But these bars have been a staple for decades of Scouts and canoeists paddling and portaging the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota and Canada. The bars pack quite a bit of energy and make a great snack or part of a lunchtime meal. These bars are the favorites of Boy Scouts, and whenever I bring them to an outing, they tend to disappear into the mouths of hungry boys as fast as I can get them out.
Wrapped in plastic, these bars will keep for weeks, although I suppose you can freeze them for long term storage. I wouldn’t know, though because they tend not to last that long in our house.
Hudson Bay Bread
- 9 1/2 Cups regular rolled oats
- 3 sticks butter (room temperature, softened)
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate chips, finely chopped nuts, chopped raisons or other dried fruit
- In small quantities, about a cup at a time, put the oats in a blender or food processor and briefly blend or pulse at high speed to chop the oats. You should have a mix of sizes from floury powder to whole pieces. Put aside in a bowl and repeat until all the oats are processed.
- Cream butter, sugar, corn syrup, honey, and vanilla in large mixing bowl.
- Add oats, a little at a time, by the end the mixture will be very thick and stiff. A heavy duty stand mixer or hand mixing with a sturdy wooden spoon may be necessary.
- Add the mix ins and stir until combined.
- Spread mixture onto a jelly roll or half sheet pan. Depth should be about 3/4 of an inch. Press down with a spatula or rolling pin to evenly compact.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly
- Remove from oven and press the bread with a heavy spatula to flatten it down and evenly compact the bread. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Cut into 2×3 inch bars while still warm. Cool and use a spatula to separate bars. Cool on wire racks and wrap with plastic wrap to retain shape.
Can also be served with peanut butter and jelly.