Thursday, August 14, 2014

Homemade Cereal Bars

Baby G is walking.

I hope this explains my absence the last two months.

This summer has been filled with early morning runs, park expeditions, yoga/wrestling matches (Baby G has mastered the body slam during my Shavasana), and lots of wine after G is down for the night. 

As the summer draws near, my writing work is ramping up and I couldn't be more excited. Next week I will be giving a talk in Verona on healthy after school snacks and I have some projects that are in development but I can't wait to share with you. First, this talk next week, I will be at Verona Chiropractic on Wednesday August 20th from 5:30-6:15 talking about healthy after school snacks and lunches. If you are interested, call 608-497-3000 to reserve a spot by Monday, August 18.

This is one of the recipes I will be sharing next week. It has been a major go-to recipe for us all summer. I developed it for my last cookbook, Homemade Snacks and Staples, because I lived on Nutrigrain bars growing up. Next time you are in the store, read the ingredients and you will see why I made my own recipe (spoiler alert: over 40 ingredients!).

I have been making these so often lately that I have developed some shortcuts. I thought it was easy when I first made it, but now I have it down to an assembly line science. This makes two dozen so I keep about six in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. It's a great little morning treat. If Baby G sees them, she has to have one. They are dangerously good.

Homemade Cereal Bars

 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
[1/2] cup quick cooking oats
1 [1/2] teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
[1/8] teaspoon salt

[1/2] brown sugar, packed
[1/2] unsweetened applesauce
[1/2] cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
[3/4]- 1 cup jam of your choice*

*homemade is best, but otherwise look for jams that have fruit as the first ingredient and no high fructose corn syrup

1. Preheat oven to 350 (dg)F. Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan (or two 12-cup mini muffin pan).

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter, sugar, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture. You may need to use a wooden spoon and/or your hands to get it all combined.

4. Use a small cookie scoop to scoop dough into muffin pan (approx. [1/2] tablespoon of dough). Flatten dough into pan. Add a teaspoon of jam to each on. You can do two different jams if you'd like- I usually do apricot and blackberry.

5. Scoop another [1/2] tablespoon of dough for each bar. Then flatten into disk and seal the muffins.

6. Bake 18-25 minutes until tops are golden and starting to crack. 

7. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days, in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. To thaw, either take out and sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes or put in microwave for 20 seconds- if you heat it up, the jam may be hot so be careful when giving it to your little one.