Sunday, October 7, 2007

Breakfast Bars (Autumn and Tropical versions)

By now, the entire planet is well aware that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The number one reason for not eating breakfast has something to do with morning time constraints, the snooze button, and the fact that you thought you could stay up all night watching the Gene Simmons Family Values marathon on A&E.

On a lovely Sunday, you could spend 10 minutes whipping these badboys up and you can eat them in the car on your way to work (or rehab, if that's your gig.) They pack a nutritional punch, they're healthy, and they're rather addictive. Though the ingredient list looks daunting, it tends to be of the sort of things that are usually lurking about in your pantry with nothing else better to do. You don't have soy flour? No big. Just leave it out. Don't like pumpkin? Use applesauce. Not a fan of pecans? Use whichever nut you'd like, or leave them out. Hate cranberries? Use raisins. Hate cranberries AND raisins? Use dried apples. I think you get the gist here. These are egg-free, diary-free, and they're full of oaty goodness, which will probably lower your cholesterol. You can thank me later.

Autumn Breakfast Bars

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup oat flour (conveniently made from pulverizing old-fashioned rolled oats in a blender or food processor)
1/3 cup flaxseeds, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant, and pulverized in a blender or food processor.
1/4 cup soy flour
1/2 cup Craisins or raisins or chopped dried apples.
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree; not the pumpkin pie mix (or natural applesauce)
1 medium Granny Smith or Gala apple, cored, peeled, seeded and chopped into small pieces (1/4 inch or so)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375*F. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a bowl, stirring to combine. In a separate bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients along with the apple, dried fruit, and nuts. Stir until the mixture is well combined and spread into a greased 13 x 9 pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cut into squares while the bars are still warm, but do not remove them from the pan until they are completely cool (as they will fall apart if you take them out when still warm.)

Tropical Version: Reduce packed brown sugar to 2 Tbsp. Omit the maple syrup and water, the fresh apple, the pumpkin, the cinnamon, and the Craisins and pecans and substitute with the following:
1 cup canned pineapple tidbits (not crushed pineapple) well-drained and dried (reserve juice)
1 cup reserved pineapple juice from above; add enough water or apple juice to make one cup if you don't have enough.
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup packed sweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup finely chopped dried mango and papaya
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts or cashews
1/4 tsp allspice

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