Monday, January 25, 2010

Breakfast Bar Goodness

I tried my hand at some homemade mixed berry breakfast bars the other day.  This was my first attempt at this new recipe which I modified from one I found online.  They turned out pretty darn good!  These are great for breakfast on the go or an afternoon snack.  Although I did not have fresh berries since they are off season, I used some frozen ones.  If you can't find fresh berries or they are not locally in season, frozen berries from previous seasons or organic frozen berries from your grocery store are just as nutritious and versatile as fresh berries (and cheaper if you are purchasing berries that are not in season!)  Can't wait to make them again when berry season comes around!

I modified the recipe just a little.  Instead of brown sugar I used xylitol, an all natural, low carb, sugar replacement, to make them a little more diabetes friendly and I added all natural vanilla extract to add the flavor that I missed from taking out the brown sugar.  You could also add molasses and natural sugar if you were not using brown sugar to add that same flavor.  All in all they are not too sweet and perfectly filling for breakfast and make great snacks for your kiddos (or in my case hungry hubby).  Here's the recipe for those of you who want to try it out! 

Berry Breakfast Bars
16 oz fresh berries  (or frozen, or canned)
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch (or substitute 5 tbsp of all purpose flour for thickening)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cup oats
1 cup brown sugar (or 1 cup xylitol + few teaspoons vanilla)
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup butter (I know this is alot, I actually used only 3/4 a cup)

1 Set oven temperature to 400 F degrees. Grease a 9x13x2-inch baking pan.
2 Thaw berries if frozen. Warm berries in saucepan until the juices run. (If using canned berries, omit this step and simply drain berries from can, reserving juices.) Strain berries and reserve one cup of juice, adding water if necessary to make one cup. Put berries aside and combine cooled reserved juice with cornstarch and lemon juice.  Return juice to saucepan, return saucepan to stove.
3 Cook and stir until thickened. Gently stir in berries. Set aside.
4 Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press 2/3 of mixture into greased baking pan. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; spread berries over this crust. Crumble remaining flour/oat mixture over berry layer and press lightly. Bake 20-25 minutes more, until lightly browned.
5 Cool in pan. Cut into 24 bars.

 Yum...thickened berry mixture

Finished product!

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