Friday, February 19, 2010

Brilliant Brekkie Bars

This weekend, my mom and sister are off on a long train trip, and on the weekdays now, the hub is commuting an hour plus by bus in the morning.  All of this travel calls for portable, delicious breakfast/snack options to make the rides a little sweeter.  We had a bunch of fruit rounding the bend on the fruit platter, so I thought I'd try my hand at concocting some healthy, oat-y breakfast bars.
I looked at several different recipes on some of my fave food blogs such as 101 Cookbooks (Big Sur Power Bars looked appealing), and Smitten Kitchen (Raspberry Breakfast Bars sound amazing), but after a long, hard look at our pantry, I decided to just wing it and come up with my own recipe, based on what we had and what I felt like using.  The result?
SMJ's Fruitilicious Breakfast Bars
Bottom Layer
2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 Tablespoons Earth Balance soy margarine, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Top Layer
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup  Earth Balance
Fruity Layer
3 cups mixed chopped fruit or berries (I used 1 smashed banana, 1 chopped banana, 1 chopped pear, 1/2 cup of raspberries, 1/2 cup of blueberries, and some random blackberries for good measure)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour or cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1) Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 9" x 13" pan.
2) Mix the bottom layer: in a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the melted Earth Balance and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Press this mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan with your fingers. (I also use the bottom of a stainless steel measuring cup to help make the crust flat and even.)
3) Next, mix the top layer: place the flour, brown sugar, and butter or vegetable oil sticks in a small bowl and use a fork to combine until the mixture resembles large crumbs. Set aside.
4) Mix up the fruitiness! Put the fruit in the bowl you mixed the bottom layer in and toss it with the vanilla extract, sugar and flour or cornstarch. Pour the fruit mixture over the bottom layer in the pan, spreading with a spatula to create an even layer.
5) Spread the top layer evenly over the fruit mixture.
6) Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden, and the edges are starting to brown.
7) Let the bars cool completely before cutting into sqaures. Store in a cool place or refrigerate.
The verdict?  Pretty.  Yummy. Sweet.  However, next time I'd like to figure out a way to use slightly less margarine and sugar to make the health profile a bit better.  I also don't necessarily think I'd use bananas again.  I had them on hand, needed to use them, and didn't feel like making banana bread, which is what lead me to the experiment in the first place, but I think their flavor was a bit cloying in this recipe.  Using only mixed berries or adding some stone fruits (peaches?) in would really push this recipe over the top.  This was a great first try though, and definitely recipe I'll make again and keep tweaking as more fruit comes into season.  In the meantime, one of these and a cup of good coffee sounds like a perfect weekend brekkie to me.


  1. I love portable breakfasts! Definitely giving this recipe a try :) Eric is a huge fan of the Big Sur Breakfast bars (minus the espresso) and they are so easy- i love the no-bake factor. Happy weekend hope you are all well!

  2. I love your recipe section. I made these tonight with the 4 year old and they are fabulous. In fact, Judah wants to know what kind of family eats these for breakfast? (He'll find out in a few hours, actually, that his family is, in fact, one of those families that eats it warm for dessert and then soon after for breakfast.)

    I didn't have enough Earth Balance so I had to use real butter. Yum. I used one banana, blueberries (thawed from our summer stash), and 1.5 pears past their prime. Awesome. I can't wait until breakfast.