I’ve always been a breakfast person. Whether it’s a bowl of oatmeal, eggs and bacon, or the occasional decadent French pastry, I’m usually down. But lately my morning appetite (not hunger… and there is indeed a difference) has been lacking, which can lead me to skip my first meal, which is no good. Needing all the energy I can muster these long summer days and nights, I had to figure out an alternative breakfast plan since a bowl of oatmeal just isn’t doing it for me right now.
Enter: these homemade oat and nut butter bars. This recipe from Healthy Green Kitchen is pretty low in sugar (even lower with my adjustments), high in nutrients and fiber, and extremely versatile as far as ingredients go. I expect to make these just about every week, in a new flavor, until the cool of fall greets us and my hankering for hot and creamy steel cut oats returns. Pair them with some local seasonal fruit and a glass of freshly-squeezed “green” juice (a post in the making) and it’s like we’re having breakfast together! ‘Cept I’m in Boston and you are… well, wherever you are.
Oat & Nut Butter Bars
Makes one 9 x 13 inch pan of bars (slice as you please)
- 3 cups raw rolled oats
- 1/2 cup seeds or nuts (sunflower shown; sesame, flax, hemp seeds, finely-chopped nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 cup nut butter (peanut shown; almond, cashew, sunflower, sesame etc)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, slightly warmed to liquify if necessary
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup pure maple syrup or raw local honey (a jam could be nice, too)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dried fruit, chopped (optional, dates and raisins shown; figs, prunes, peaches, apricots, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, etc)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional, not shown)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment. In two large bowls, combine the dry and wet ingredients, separately. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, just mixing them enough to combine. Mix in the dried fruit and/or chocolate pieces, if desired. Taste and make adjustments if necessary (add extra sweetener, oats, nut butter, etc). Using clean hands, spread the mixture into the pan and bake for 15 minutes. Allow the pan to cool slightly and slice the bars as desired. Redistribute the bars on the lined baking sheet and bake another 15 minutes. Remove the bars and allow them to cool on a rack; store in an airtight container in the fridge. I stack mine between layers of parchment.
Recipe adapted from Healthy Green Kitchen.