Thursday, January 27, 2011

Banana-Maple Oat Breakfast Bars

We've all been reading for years how important breakfast is to maintaining a healthy weight, but I have to admit I'm not a huge breakfast lover.  I just don't like to eat when I first get up.  Give me my cup of coffee and I'm good to go until about 10:00.  Unfortunately that doesn't always fit into my schedule.  Three days a week, I meet with my trainer at 9:30 which means I need to eat at least a little something so I can make it through the workout.  Oatmeal is usually my choice, so when I read the recipe for these bars I thought they would be a nice substitute.  And easy to grab and eat on the way.  These would also be a perfect little treat for your kids lunch box.  They're just sweet enough for a kid to like and full of healthy whole grains, fruits and nuts.

A word of warning.....the combination of banana and maple syrup baking fill the kitchen with an irresistible aroma.  It's really hard to wait for these to cool to eat one!!  These will keep for a week to 10 days, wrapped, at room temperature, for for several months if frozen.

Here's the recipe:

Banana-Maple Oat Breakfast Bars
adapted from King Arthur Flour "The Baking Sheet" Magazine
Early Spring, 2010

1 1/2 cups (3 small or 2 large) mashed bananas
3/4 cup plain or vanilla low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup sunflower or vegetable oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple flavor
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (King Arthur)
3/4 cup dried fruit; apples, apricots, dates or dried cranberries (chopped)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Mix all of the ingredients in the order listed.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for an hour; this will allow the oats and whole wheat to absorb liquid from the batter.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease a sheet pan or line with parchment.

Spread the batter in a even layer in the pan.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until light golden brown at the edges.  Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.  Cut the bars into 2 1/2 x 3 inch bars and transfer to rack to cool completely.

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