Monday, October 15, 2007

The Most Important Meal of the Day

"What is breakfast?"

I am a big fan of breakfast...creamy eggs, nutty Scottish oats slathered with brown sugar and lashings of cream, quiches, omelettes, pancakes studded with juicy blueberries, French toast dripping with maple syrup. Ah.... Add a cup of fresh hot coffee and some orange juice (maybe with a splash of champagne, should it be the weekend) and I am in heaven.

Only trouble is, weekday mornings rarely lend themselves to such fabulous fare. Oh sure. When school first starts I am ever so diligent. But between The Child being a bit like molasses in the morning and all, breakfast goes begging pretty quickly. Which then makes me feel like the worst mother in the world because everyone knows children learn better with a good breakfast on their stomachs.

I continue to try and start The Child (and myself) with something hearty and nourishing, but for those mornings when it's just not coming together I have developed this tasty little breakfast bar which, happily, The Child loves. It's not too sweet, it has a reasonable amount of healthful things in it, plus the little extra surprise of chocolate. Which is an antioxidant. Which is very good for you.

These also go very well with that all-important first cup of coffee.

After a couple of trials, this is a very nice combination of ingredients. But consider it a template, substituting other nuts or dried fruits if you prefer. (For example, I thought this was very nice with dried apricots. The Child not so much).

Cranberry-Chocolate Breakfast Bars

Preheat oven to 350°

2 c. rolled oats
1 can (12-0z) apple juice concentrate
1 big spoonful of peanut butter (probably 3-4 T.)
1 ripe banana, mashed
5 oz. honey

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. cornmeal
1 c. dried cranberries
1 c. pecans, chopped
1/3 c. coconut (unsweetened)
1 c. chocolate chips
cinnamon to taste
1 t. baking powder
pinch of salt

Soak the oats in the apple juice, honey, peanut butter and banana. Let sit for at least one hour (or overnight, if you wish).

Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add dry ingredients to the moisten oat mixture and stir gently until the dry goods are incorporated into the wet.

Spread the mixture ina 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes, until set and lightly brown on the top. The bars are moist and chewy, as opposed to crispy and crunchy.


Anne said...

bake until done? how do I know, toothpick? corners pull away? I open the oven and there's already a fork in the pan?

Lorraine said...

Good point, Anne. I edited for clarity...they set up and are gently brown on top. Hope that helps.