June 15, 2010
I've been waking up pretty early the past few mornings, both intentionally and unintentionally, and since it's a bit cooler in the mornings, they've proven to be a perfect time to bake. Thus, I've sort of been baking up a storm lately. I made two batches of vegan cookies yesterday, these easily vegan breakfast bars this morning, and probably some biscotti later today or tomorrow. P.s- vegan baking is a great way to use up ingredients when you don't want to buy perishable items (i.e. a whole carton of eggs that probably wouldn't be used up by the time you left).
I think these bars are the favorite of what I've baked thus far though. I found the recipe on Whole Foods' recipe page and a number of reviewers mentioned they were very crumbly so, I set out to fix this problem and, of course, make a few other adaptions along the way. As with most recipes I like, you can easily change these to suit your tastes by using whatever flavor preserves you'd like and any flavor in the crust/ topping that you think would complement the preserves, as well as any kind of seed or nut. You can even add dried fruit if you so choose. So, if raspberry almond isn't your thing, here are some other suggestions:
strawberry preserves, orange (or lemon) zest, almonds
apricot preserves, cinnamon, walnuts
cherry preserves, vanilla, cashews
lemon curd, vanilla, poppy seeds
Let me know if you try anything wonderful!
Raspberry Almond Breakfast Bars
As written, I used 1 1/2 teaspoons of almond extract because it's usually very strong; however, the brand I used this time seemed to be a bit weaker. Though the flavor didn't disappear entirely, it was not as strong as I'd hoped, so I would suggest trying to be familiar with the strength of your extract before you deciding how much to use. If you'd rather not use almond extract, you could try vanilla, or perhaps adding a bit of ground cinnamon.
Adapted from Whole Foods
1 cup rolled oats, can use quick or old fashioned
1 cup whole spelt flour
1/3 cup sucanat
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted or raw
1/3 cup expeller pressed canola oil
2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar if you'd like a vegan version)
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract (optional, see above note)
1/3 preserves of choice [I used Bonne Maman Raspberry]
Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine oats, flour, sucanat, salt, baking soda, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Add oil and1/4 cup light coconut milk, mixing well until all ingredients are fully combined. Reserve a scant half cup and press the rest into a parchment lined bread pan (The original recipe used an 8x8 pan but I wanted the bars to be a bit thicker).
Spread the preserves evenly over the oat mixture in the pan. Break up and sprinkle the reserved oat mixture (it will be somewhat sticky) over the top.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cool in the pan on a wire rack then cut into bars or squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.