Cereal bars sound like a great option when it comes to a fast snack or a quick breakfast, right? Turn those bars over and read the labels... they are a mile long and full of ingredients you would never find in your cabinets. Most pre-packaged foods, like cereal bars which are thought to be a healthful choice, are full of added sugar, artificial flavoring, food coloring, fillers and ingredients that you cannot pronounce. The good news is it's very easy to make your own cereal bars at home and they are delicious! Don't forget to get your kids in the kitchen with you- Kids are more likely to try something that they've helped make and this is a recipe that can include even the youngest helpers.
Ingredients: Makes 12 bars
Please use organic whenever possible
For the crust
1/2c butter, room temperature
1/3c pure maple syrup, room temperature
1 large egg
1c old fashioned rolled oats
2c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2t sea salt
1t baking powder
Filling- Use your favorite jam or make your own!
1.5 c unsweetened applesauce
pinch of salt
dash of cinnamon to taste
Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry
2c fresh or frozen berries- becomes about 2/3c once reduced
1. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2. In a separate bowl, use an electric hand mixer to cream the wet ingredients until well combined. You may still have small beads of butter that have not fully combined and that is ok.
3. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, a little at a time, continuing to mix with the hand mixer until all of the dry has been incorporated.
4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
5. If you want to make your own filling, there are so many options! Simply blend up 1.5c-2c of fresh or frozen fruit(thawed) and reduce on the stove until thickened.
We especially love a simple applesauce filling. In a small pot on the stove, combine the 1.5c applesauce, pinch of sea salt and dash of cinnamon (or more if you want extra spice) and cook over medium heat until the sauce has thickened, stirring often. As it reduces, the sweetness will intensify and the addition of the salt will help bring the natural sweetness out as well.
If using frozen berries, add them to a small pot over medium heat. Once thawed completely, use a blender or an immersion blender to make smooth. If you have fresh berries available, start with blending the berries then add to a pot to reduce. Continue reducing on the stove until thickened, stirring often.
*If you are trying to get more vegetables into your child's diet, this is a great place to experiment! Try adding sweet potato or pumpkin with the apple, carrot or spinach with strawberry (and banana, yum!), or even different spices for interesting flavors.
6. Preheat your oven to 350F and have a cookie sheet ready.
7. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until the dough is between 1/8-1/4in thick. Cut off the rough edges and slice 3inx3in squares. Add a small amount of filling on one side and fold in half to cover the filling and create a rectangular bar. Pinch the sides closed to keep the filling inside. Make sure to combine the crust scraps, roll flat again and use to make a few extra bars. Depending on how thick you roll the dough and how accurately you cut the squares, you may get an extra bar or two :)
8. Bake the bars for 15-17 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Cool and enjoy. Keep in an airtight container or freeze for later.