Whole-grain breakfast bars

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Breakfast, as you already know, is the most important meal of the day. It’s important to have something wholesome, and of course you also want the first thing you eat for the day to be delicious. However, it’s so easy to grab a granola bar or Pop tart or to skip the meal altogether, but I know that every time that I have a doughnut for breakfast, I’m hungry within two hours and regret the decision.

I have a standard breakfast routine with pretty healthy options. I typically have breakfast at work, which I think is pretty sad, but it’s better than the alternative of shoveling food in my mouth as fast as possible at home. (I’m a slow eater, too, so shoveling never really happens–I just end up being late.) In high school and college, I woke up an hourly before I left for school so I could eat a leisurely breakfast, flipping through cookbooks and old Martha Stewart Livings while I chewed. For some reason, now that I’m in the working world, I value my sleep more, and I get ready for the day much more quickly.

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I’m pretty uninventive when it comes to my breakfast options, but I recently found a recipe for whole-grain breakfast bars, and it intrigued me. I wasn’t sure that a bar like this would be able to fill me up for the whole morning, but it was worth a try because the bars sounded delicious, packed with dried cranberries and walnuts, and are made completely of whole wheat flour and oatmeal, without a bit of white flour.

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Although I’ve read that swapping whole wheat flour for white leads to dense baked goods, it wasn’t the case at all with these. They are a little dense, denser than they would be if made with white flour, but it makes them better–you want food that sticks with you in the morning, and with 2 cups of oats, walnuts and bananas in addition to the whole wheat flour, the breakfast bars are sure to satisfy. The bars are kind of a mix between a granola bar and banana bread, but way healthier. They’re sweetened just enough, and dried cranberries dotted throughout the batter provide a nice sweet-tart surprise. The recipe makes 12 large bars, so you end up with enough to last a work week and then some. These whole-grain breakfast bars are a great way to start your day, and hopefully they bring some appreciated variety to your breakfast routine, too.

 

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Whole-grain breakfast bars
from Cooking Light, December 2014
makes 12 bars
five-stars

 

Note: The bars are also a good afternoon pick-me-up, and I think they’d be fantastic with a handful of chocolate chips thrown in, but of course, that makes them a bit more dessert-like and less breakfasty. 

 

4.75 ounces whole wheat flour (about 1 cup)
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon table salt
2 ripe bananas
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
¾ cup walnuts, chopped
¾ cup dried cranberries

 

1. Combine flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

2. Mash the bananas in a large bowl with a fork. Mix in sugar, milk, oil, vanilla and eggs.

3. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and stir until combined. Dump in the nuts and cranberries and mix them in.

4. Make a sling in a 9 by 13 inch glass or metal baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Dump the dough into the covered pan and spread it out; bake at 375F for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the bars on a wire rack. Cut into 12 bars.

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