Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oat and Almond Breakfast Bars

When a friend called to see if I'd like to be part of the local elementary school's first Health and Fitness Fair/5K Run, I couldn't resist. Not only did both my kids attend the school, but I enjoy doing things in my community and spreading the word about healthy eating to anyone who will listen!

The event is next weekend, so I've been working on some handouts about quick, healthy meals, recipes and so forth. After talking to my Board of Health, I got permission to prepare and hand out a homemade snack (with some restrictions regarding potentially hazardous food). I decided fresh fruit and some sort of granola bar would be perfect, both for the runners and their families.

This was my first attempt at a granola bar, and I wasn't sure what to expect. The result wasn't too sticky or cookie-like, had a great texture and good flavor. I'm going to try to modify the recipe and remove the almonds, perhaps substituting another grain or some crisp rice cereal, because I'm quite aware of how many nut allergies there are these days. But I think these will be long gone by the time I whip up the next batch. They're that good!

Oat and Almond Breakfast Bars
Makes 24 bars

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
2 t. vanilla
1 large egg
2 cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup raisins (I used a combination of raisins and Craisins)
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spray the foil or parchment with nonstick spray.

In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, combine oil, honey, vanilla and egg until well mixed.

In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients (I used my hands for this). With a rubber spatula, stir the honey mixture into the oat mixture until blended. It will look like there's not enough liquid at first, but keep mixing; it will all come together.

Use the spatula to scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Use your wet hands to pat the mixture into the pan.

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until pale golden around the edges. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, at least 1 hour. Use the foil or parchment to remove the entire rectangle from the pan to a cutting board. Cut into 24 squares. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe from Good Housekeeping.

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