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Waking up to a cold, wet and gloomy Saturday called for a sweet and toasty breakfast.

These days, being sometimes a bit paleo and sometimes a bit not, warm homemade breakfast bars have become a new staple in our household.  They’ve replaced the muesli we used to hoard (my hubby is German, ja!), and are delicious atop a big bowl of thick Greek yogurt.  For baking, I’ve even optimized a mini assembly line as our pantry now holds each of the necessary ingredients in separate airtight OXO containers, rectangular of course for the German.  Seven minutes prep time, 15 minutes bake time… seriously.

The bars are gluten and processed-grain free, only using nuts, seeds, and fruit as the showcase ingredients.  And even these can be varied from the basics – pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, pistachios, flax seeds, chia seeds, and raisins, for example.  The only requirements are the eggs to bind it all together, and a banana or honey for a bit of moisture and sweetness.  The dates also add a nice chewy texture.

As an extra treat, and inspired by the Girl and Her Carrot’s Deconstructed Apple Pie, for today’s breakfast I baked a couple of apples sprinkled with cinnamon to add to the yogurt/bar combo.  The warm, sweet apples got a huge two thumbs up from hubby.

Alongside a hot cup of coffee and opera boldy flowing through the house, the rainy day seemed off to a pretty good start.

Breakfast Bars (makes 1 dozen)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pint (1 cup) chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 pint (1 cup) chopped almonds
  • 1/2 pint (1 cup) shredded coconut
  • 10-12 pitted and chopped Medjool dates
  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • optional 1/8 pint (1/4 cup) honey

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C (~300 degrees F).  Combine all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  If starting with whole nuts and dates, use a food processor to blend/chop at a medium speed setting.  Also using the food processor, blend banana, eggs, and (if desired) honey.  Usually, I opt to skip the honey, finding that the banana and dates alone provide plenty of sweetness.  Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing well.

Next, grease either a rectangular baking pan or muffin tin with a bit of oil or butter (I used walnut oil).  At this point, I use two silicone muffin trays, each with six molds, to yield a nice dozen; I’ve found it easier to make little muffins rather than cutting through a larger and crumblier rectangular piece later.  Fill and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Though best warm, the breakfast bars can be kept refrigerated for up to a week.  Reheat in the oven right before eating for some added crunch and toasty goodness.

Baked Apple Topping (adapted from A Girl and Her Carrot, Deconstructed Apple Pie, November 4, 2011)

Ingredients (serves two)

  • 2 apples, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C (~350 degrees F).  Place cubed apples (I left the peel on) into a baking dish or pan.  Dress with walnut oil and honey, mix well.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 30 minutes.

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