For some reason, I am going through a massive urge to bake lately. Perhaps it’s due to necessity, since I’m forcing myself to make more of our snacks at home to cut down on all the processed foods that we eat around here. Maybe, an old flame who’s coals have long been banked is just finally being rekindled (I did originally start going to college to train to be a pastry chef- but my plans just changed over time).
Whatever the reason, the baking bug always seems to bite me at ~12:30-1:00 in the morning…every morning. Seriously! My family comes out most mornings interested to see what yummy goodie the ‘baking elves’ (not to be confused with those sell-out Keebler guys) has left on our kitchen counter. Let me entice you with what’s been smellin’ up my kitchen lately….
The first thing I whipped up was homemade granola bars. My kids are constantly bargaining for a ‘nack’ and man, do we go through pop-tarts, fruit snacks, granola bars, and the like! Even with coupons I can still spend my weight in ‘nack food’ for their hungry ‘lil tummies, so I knew there had to be a better way. A quick trip to Google (and help from StacyMakesCents.com) and I found out I was right! A healthier, CHEAPER version was close at hand with ingredients I already had in my pantry- who knew?!
I got aggravated after I had already creamed together the butter and brown sugar when I realized I didn’t have old-fashioned oats on hand- only quick oats. No matter- in recipes where you are baking things like this, just sub one for the other! Crisis averted! I decided to double the recipe but for some reason didn’t change the size pan I used to bake it (i.e. 8×8 vs. 9×13) so I wound up with really thick chunky bars instead of thinner more numerous bars. Regardless, I still had plenty with which to fill my large tupperware container!
Overall, I think they turned out fairly tasty but I would do some things differently next time. I’d use a bigger pan (duh!) and I’d probably toast the oats- it would bring out a yummy nuttiness that I feel is lacking greatly. But Tim and the kids loved ‘em and the tupperware is esssentially empty, so I guess they couldn’t have been too bad!
Next, I decided to dabble with fruit as I have a bunch of frozen blackberries that I wanted to use up- enter Blackberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars (courtesy of FriendsFoodFamily.com). Talk about melt in your mouth scrumptiousness!! How can you go wrong with oats, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon topped with a blackberry sugar reduction and then more brown sugar streusel? HEA-VEN!!!!!
There’s nothing I would do differently next time other than make sure I have more blackberries on hand so that I can totally double or triple this recipe. It makes a gracious 32 bars (or 16 if you want them to be bigger like I did) and if you put the computer down right now and go in your kitchen to make these I swear you won’t be sorry. Just promise you’ll come back and finish reading my post when you’re done.Read More