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January 30, 2008 10:12 AM   Subscribe

My family loves fruit-filled breakfast/snack bars. How can I make my own?

My husband is a big fan of Kelloggs NutriGrain bars -- unfortunately they're largely made of high fructose corn syrup. Our 2-year-old daughter gets the similar Earth's Best Snack Bars (now, with more Grover!), which are healthier but, like, a dollar a piece. I'd like a recipe to make similar bars at home. They should be: soft, fruity, not as sweet as a cookie, not too time consuming, work with a variety of fruit (ideally with options for fresh or jam/preserves), and keep well for up to a week and/or freeze well. My regular recipe sources are coming up empty.
posted by libraryhead to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Alton Brown did an entire episode on breakfast-type bar treats. The protein bar should be close to what you're looking for.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 10:22 AM on January 30, 2008

I'm at work, and my books are at home. But from making these at the bakery where I used to work, I can tell you it's fairly simple; find a rollable cookie dough with some extra oats in it (you can cut the sugar and add more oats without screwing up the recipe too much).

Then roll out a big sheet of them. Cut them into long rectangles.
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Then fill with peanut butter or jam (or both!).

Flip each side over the top to meet in the middle. The dough is delicate and this will take practice, delicious practice.

Turn them over so the seam is on the bottom and bake. Wait till cool to slice.

It is a little tricky but you will get it after you make a couple.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:24 AM on January 30, 2008

Wow, sorry I made The Breakfast Bar Diagram That Ate AskMe.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:25 AM on January 30, 2008

Best answer: Well, here's a recipe to try:

Whole Wheat Bars with Raspberry Filling

I've made these Almond Fruit Bars several times, and they're pretty great.

Also, there's nothing like a big fat oatmeal cookie full of dried fruits and nuts. You can play with the sugar ratio a bit, and you can use a mix of whole grains instead of just plain oats--Trader Joe's has a hot cereal (Country Choice Organic) that includes barley, oats, wheat, and rye, and I've subsituted that for plain oats in cookies with great success. I've also made cookies replacing some of the butter with ground flaxseed (or just adding some flax to the mix along with the butter), and that always works great.
posted by padraigin at 10:36 AM on January 30, 2008

Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe cookbook has recipes for breakfast bars. I can't find a link to the recipe I used, but it had lots of dried fruit, nuts, and seeds, and was bound together with tofu and--I think--eggs. They were really delicious and low in fat and sugar (the sweetness comes from the dried fruit).

My only caveat is that I don't remember them being particularly cheap, because of the dried fruit and the nuts, but if you can find the dried fruit and nuts in bulk it will probably cut down on the cost.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:44 AM on January 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also, making jam and drying fruit is fun, and you could make that a great summer project this year when everything's in season, then enjoy it all year round. There are cheap-to-free food dehydrators on Craigslist all the time, plus there are oven-drying methods, and jam doesn't require any special equipment other than jars and a giant pot. In the long run it will be way, way cheaper than buying dried fruits and commercially produced jams.

Both activities have very toddler-friendly aspects, by the way, and it's fun to eat the literal fruits of your labor later on.
posted by padraigin at 11:21 AM on January 30, 2008

If you make the Alton Brown recipe, I can't recommend strongly enough not, NOT using flavored soy powder (such as, oh, I don't know, Trader Joe's vanilla soy powder). I am probably the only chef stupid enough to do that but wow, was it gross. I'm hoping that was the only reason because I want to try them again.
posted by Hey, Cupcake! at 12:49 PM on January 30, 2008

I just made these fruit and nut bars from Sunset on Monday, and they are yummy. Soft and not too sweet.
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:23 PM on January 30, 2008

Response by poster: Those Martha Stewart bars look perfect, padraigin. I'll be giving those a try soon. Good call about drying/jamifying our own fruit, too. I'll definitely be doing that once the farmer's market opens back up. For everyone else who might be interested, zippity tipped me off that Trader Joe's has a house brand of fruit bars that are supposedly tasty, inexpensive, and HCFS-free.
posted by libraryhead at 6:39 PM on January 30, 2008

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