Breakfast Bars

For 10+ years I’ve been eating a store bought “energy bar” for breakfast 5 days a week. I really can’t face food in the morning, and these have been the only thing I could eat early. The alternative before was just not eating until lunch, and this was better. I’ve always known they were glorified candy bars, but hey, it worked so I went with it.

But I’ve been collecting recipes for awhile for how to make my own healthier alternative. I finally dug in and created a hybrid recipe to try. It went really well the first time. I will warn you that this makes a lot of bars. This batch lasted me about a month. I made a half batch the second time.

2 cups rolled oats
4 oz cashews, roasted, no salt added
4 oz almonds, roasted, no salt added
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup cocoa nibs
1/4 cup whole ground flax meal
4 oz dates, halved and pitted
4 oz dried cherries, soaked for 5+ minutes
1+ TBL cinnamon (I love cinnamon and regularly use 4+ times the amount a recipe will call for)
1/4 tspn kosher salt
8 oz fresh apple = I used 1 large granny smith
2+ TBL honey (I used a local organic raspberry honey)

1) Preheat oven to 350 F
2) line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the rolled oats on it, and bake for 20 minutes. It should smell like they are toasting
3) If you get raw nuts, you should toast those for 20 minutes as well. I bought nuts that were already roasted but with no salt added.
4) add the dry ingredients (oats thru flax meal) to a food processor, run on low until there are no large chunks left, then add the dates, cherries, and pulse another minute or until it’s down to pretty small bits, and then add the apple and honey, and pulse until it’s starting to clump together, continue to process until well mixed. Add more honey, 1 TBL at a time until you get it clumping together, and not just looking like a mix of dry cereal bits.
5) line a medium size baking pan with parchment paper, leave enough excess for handles on either side for handles.
6) Move the sticky mass of ingredients to the pan and spread it as flat as you can. If you use enough parchment paper to cover the top, then you can lay it over and press it flat with your hands more easily without getting too messy.
7) bake for 20 minutes, let cool on a wire rack, then cut up into roughly 1.5″ squares.

Mike gave these a thumbs up right away. He says a small piece is great with coffee in the morning. [From the first batch] I tried eating one straight, with tea, and it was too dry for me. So, the next day I broke it up in a small bowl of (coconut) milk, and it was much easier to eat (see photo below). This really helps if they’re too dry. But the recipe above is now from the third batch and with more honey I don’t think they’re too dry any more.