Guava Almond Oat Bars


Guava almond oat bars are crunchy, nutty, gooey, and perfectly sweetened with tart guava. Guava is a tropical fruit featured in Cuban cuisine from batidos (shakes), pastelitos, or served simply sliced on Cuban crackers slathered with thick cream cheese. I love eating guava marmalade drizzled over cottage cheese or swirled into plain oatmeal. My abuelos always had Cuban crackers, a bar of guava paste, and Philadelphia cream cheese in the kitchen ready for a sweetly sinful Sunday snack.

guava-bars yummy-piece

I seem to always have an abundance of Quaker Oats in my apartment. I had been religiously eating them for breakfast daily, but I’m over oatmeal for the time being, so I have to find other uses for these wholesome grains. I recently tried a local brand, Mama’s Guava Bars, whose rich, soft guava bars are made with shortbread crusts. These guava bars are seriously delicious, but I wanted something with a crunchier, nuttier, and thicker crust.


Guava almond oat bars are warmly scented with cinnamon and fresh nutmeg complimented by a tart gooey guava center. These guava almond oat bars are the perfect treat for an afternoon snack paired with a steaming cup of café con leche and a good read.

chopped-guava guava-almond-oat-bar

Guava Almond Oat Bars:

Old-Fashioned Oat Crust:
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup chopped almonds (4 ounces)
1 ¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg; beaten at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) melted butter

Guava Filling:
1 jar Conchita Brand Guava Marmelade
2 shells or 1/3 cup diced guava shells

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease a 13 x 9 Pyrex dish and line with parchment paper. Mix around 11 ounces of the guava marmalade with the diced guava shells and set aside. Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg with a whisk. Pulse the almonds in a food processor to coarsely chop unless you bought pre-chopped almonds from the grocery store.


Stir in the old-fashioned oats and chopped almonds. Stir in the melted butter and add the beaten room temperature egg. Lastly, add in the vanilla and your crust is complete!


Press a little more than half of the crust into the bottom of the parchment lined baking dish. Now top the bottom layer with the guava marmalade mixture. Sprinkle the remaining crust as evenly as possible on top of the guava almond oat bars and press to form a rough top crust. Bake the guava almond oat bars for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.


Allow the guava almond oat bars to cool for at least 1 hour- 2 or more hours is ideal so they set well. You can chill the guava almond oat bars in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before cutting into bars.

Guava Bread Pudding

Guava-in-each-bite Beautiful-Bread-Pudding

Guava bread pudding combines my two loves, bread and sweet gooey guava, and when combined they produce the most fabulous of Cuban flavors. Bread pudding is a classic comfort food: a savory dish or sweet dessert made of day-old bread and eggs with unlimited variations.

Guava bread pudding is a treat I have always thought about making, and this time I had a Cuban medianoche loaf of sweet egg bread and half a French loaf on hand. Honestly, if you are going out and buying special bread for your bread pudding then you just aren’t doing it right. Bread pudding should be made with bread that’s too stale for a sandwich and something extra you have on hand. Bread pudding is a classic comfort food and shouldn’t be fussy, so exact measurements aren’t even really necessary here either.


I was right about to make this recipe with loads of milk when it dawned on me that evaporated milk would add some sweetness so I could go lighter on the sugar. The recipe I was looking at for guidance called for 2 cups of milk which sound like an awful lot, and I wanted to save some milk for my coffee later. Using evaporated milk for the guava bread pudding was a great call. The evaporated milk and dash of cinnamon filled the air with a warm delicious scent reminiscent of rice pudding or arroz con leche. The cinnamon softens the sweet tang of guava and ties the dish together.

Add-Guava Bread-pudding-up-close

 I added little globs of whipped cream cheese to the bread pudding and gently stirred the ingredients right before popping it in the oven. Cream cheese and guava go together like eggs and bacon, and if you haven’t had the two together, you’re missing out my friend.


Guava Bread Pudding

4 cups diced bread
1 can Carnation 2% Low-fat Evaporated Milk (12 oz)
¼ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
Pinch of salt
Dash of cinnamon
½ cup diced guava paste (a cheese knife works best here!)
¼ cup whipped cream cheese

I used 2 cups medianoche bread diced, and 2 cups of diced french bread because that is what I had laying around the house. I added the cup of sugar and eggs to my KitchenAid Mixer and beat until incorporated on medium. Next I added the dash of salt, vanilla, cinnamon, milk, and evaporated milk. The kitchen smelled like a heavenly batch of fresh arroz con leche (at this moment I realized I needed to make arroz con leche asap for the site!).

4-eggs Kitchenaid

I beat the ingredients until there were no more yellow wisps of yolk swirling about. I made sure to grease the dish for the bread pudding very well. The little cubes of diced guava paste looked like sugary bombs that would make cleaning this dish a nightmare later, so plenty of butter for greasing was in order here.

add-cinnamon Add-eff-and-evaporated-milk

Toss in the diced bread cubes and pour the milk and egg mixture on top. Mix in the guava paste and dab little globs of the whipped cream cheese into the mixture. Allow the bread pudding to sit and soak for 15 minutes; stir once more and press down gently to even out the top before popping in the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until set and firm. Remove from the oven and use a spatula along the edges to separate the gooey guava from the pan. Top with aluminum foil and allow the bread pudding to come to room temperature before serving.


Guava bread pudding can be served hot or cold. I prefer mine piping hot with cool whipped cream and vanilla sauce on top. I spooned some of the easy brown sugar vanilla sauce onto the dessert plate, topped with the bread pudding, added a dollop of fresh whipped cream, and I garnished with extra crumbles of brown sugar but cinnamon would work here too. The bread pudding was sweet and decadent with pockets of guava oozing out onto the plate. If you don’t feel like making the vanilla sauce a scoop of vanilla ice cream would work perfectly with the guava bread pudding.

Spread-the-vanilla-sauce Guava-Bread-pudding

Easy Brown Sugar Vanilla Sauce

1/3 cup mix of light and dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
Dash of cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
1 dash salt
1 cup whole milk added in thirds
2 teaspoons vanilla stirred in

Heat a small saucepan on low heat. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour to the warm pan and whisk till mixed. Allow the sugar mixture to ‘toast’ in the pan, the cinnamon will smell like fall. Add the melted butter to pan and whisk in.

Sugar-and-spice Toast-the-SUgar-and-Spiceadd-butter Thick-sauce


Let the mixture bubble for a moment before slowly whisking in the milk in thirds until totally combined. Heat the sauce until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Whisk in the vanilla and pour into a sauce dish or bowl for serving. Enjoy!

Cuban Pastries

Guava Pastries Cuban Pastries

Cuban pastries called pastelitos are classic Cuban treats that will brighten up any breakfast, party, or 3:05 cafecito. You might be surprised to hear that homemade Cuban pastries, those delicious pastelitos that you so crave and grew up eating, are EASY to make at home. Baked in buttery puff pastry, they are often filled with tropical sweets (like guava, mango, coconut, dulce de leche, and cream cheese) or stuffed with meat like shredded chicken or picadillo (we’ll make that filling another time for Cuban empanadas). Like many Cubans and tropical fruit lovers, I am obsessed with guava. Conchita brand guava marmalade poured over cottage cheese, mixed with thick Greek yogurt, spread on crackers with cream cheese, or stuffed into delicate layers of puff pastry- oh the possibilities are endless!

     Sliced Conchita Guava     Guava on Pastry

     Add Cream Cheese     Guava and Cream Cheese Pastries

Today I am making Cuban pastries filled with guava and cream cheese also known as pastelitos de guayaba con queso. The cream cheese is lightly sweetened and the guava melts to a sticky liquid between the flaky pastry (half the adventure of eating these Cuban pastries is trying to avoid getting golden pastry crumbs all over yourself). Once the Cuban pastries are baking in the oven, the guava becomes molten hot lava- seriously ridiculously hot. The aroma of the fresh baking Cuban pastries will make your mouth water, but I urge you to wait around 10-15 minutes or even longer to allow the molten guava middle to cool. Break these pastries apart to enjoy with a steaming cup of café con leche or a little afternoon cortadito.

 Cut PastriesPastelitos de Guayaba

Cuban Pastries

Makes 9 or 18 small pastelitos for a party

1 box puff pastry sheets or homemade puff pastry dough

½ small container of Guava Paste (or 7 ounces…I used Conchita brand)

8 ounce container of reduced-fat cream cheese

½ cup sugar, divided

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup water

Follow instructions on the box to defrost the puff pastry on parchment paper (this can be done overnight in the refrigerator or quickly on the countertop for 40 minutes). You can also be a real go-getter and make your own puff pastry!! Frankly I’m too busy, and the store-bought stuff is damn good too. Set the cream cheese out to soften on the countertop. When soft enough add half the sugar and vanilla, mix well, and set aside. Microwave ¼ cup of water for 30 seconds, and mix with the remaining half of the sugar to create simple syrup. Allow the syrup to cool.

Cuban PastriesCut Pastelitos

Cut guava paste into rectangles of even thickness, cut in half, and lay evenly spread apart on the puff pastry. Top guava with sweetened cream cheese and then place the other layer of puff pastry on top. Brush the top of the pastry with simple syrup. Cut the Cuban guava pastelitos before baking in the oven. Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Once again, I must repeat for the sake of your tongue’s safety…do NOT eat these until they have cooled down! The guava and cream cheese will be extremely hot, wait at least 15 minutes for maximum enjoyment.

Layer Upon Flaky Layer