For the crust:
1 3/4 cups (175g) rolled oats (certified gluten-free, if needed)
1 3/4 cups (160g) sliced raw almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup applesauce
For the filling:
2 cups (roughly 3/4 pound) ripe strawberries, hulled and cut into small pieces
1 heaping tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon cornstarch
4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8x8-inch square pan.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse 1 cup of the oats until they’re just beginning to break down, about 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of the almonds and continue pulsing for 45 to 60 seconds, or until both have combined into a fragrant, sandy, coarse-looking meal. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and pulse to incorporate. Finally, add the butter and process until it’s broken up into little pea-sized pieces. Add the maple syrup and applesauce and pulse to moisten. The mixture should be clumping together at this point. Pour into large mixing bowl and fold in remaining 3/4 cup oats and 3/4 cup sliced almonds. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, toss together the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. In another small bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and yogurt until creamy.
Take about 2/3 of the oat mixture and press gently into prepared pan. Make sure the bottom of the pan is completely covered. Dollop the cream cheese layer on top of the crust, then spread it as best you can. You don’t want to disrupt the crust layer so I usually use my hands to quickly shimmy the cream cheese around – it doesn’t need to be a smooth layer, as it will melt into place in the oven; even just dolloping the cream cheese over the oats will work fine. Spread the strawberries evenly on top of the cream cheese layer and scatter the remaining oat mixture across the top of the bars in small chunks, aiming to cover as much of the strawberries as possible.
Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from oven. Give the bars a gentle press with the back of a spatula to help set ingredients. Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until golden on top. Let cool completely before slicing.