I’VE TRIED TO MAKE BARS LIKE THESE BEFORE. A bunch of times. The results were too thick, too crumbly or just not flavorful enough. This time we got it right. Look out Nutrigrain bars, we’ve got a homemade version that’s fresher, less expensive and even yummier.
The kids actually cheered when I served these for a snack the other day. Yelling and clapping. When was the last time you clapped over a meal? Maddening as it is sometimes, cooking for kids offers little payoffs in totally surprising ways. And I’ll take every one of them.
This recipe is actually very simple, a combination of our previously botched attempts. Give this one a try, serve the bars for breakfast, snack or even dessert. And if applause is the response at your place, just take a moment to bask in the temporary glory. I’m sure they’ll throw stuff on the floor the next time.
Homemade Strawberry Cereal Bars with Whole Oats
I like Kirkland’s Strawberry Organic Fruit Spread, made with organic strawberries and yes, a bit of organic sugar (available at Costco). If you can’t find no-sugar-added fruit spread, this is a good substitute.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup flax seed, ground
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) cooled and cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons ice water
- 3/4 – 1 cup strawberry fruit spread (with little or no sugar added)
Preheat the oven to 350. I used a quarter sheet pan (a small cookie sheet measuring 13″ x 9.6″) with a Silpat liner. You could use any pan with those approximate dimensions and if you don’t have a non-stick liner for it, butter the pan, add a sheet of parchment then butter the parchment.
Add the dry ingredients to a food processor: flour, flax, oats, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to mix. Add honey, butter and ice water then plus until the mixture looks uniform and almost starts to clump. (Mine didn’t reach a clumping stage but definitely held together when I took off the lid and touched it.)
Sprinkle half the mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Push down with clean hands (little ones love this step) and make sure there are no holes or gaps. Spread a thick layer of fruit spread over the top. Sprinkle the second half of the oat mixture on top, like you’re making a fruit crisp. A few windows peeking into the fruit spread are fine. Press down gently so it won’t get too crumbly and bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden and crisp.