I recently discovered that breakfast bars were a thing. Whoa, world expanded! My routine falters when warm days arrive and a steamy bowl of oatmeal no longer appeals no matter how much fruit I pile on top. Enter the breakfast bar. Go ahead breakfast bar take a bow.
Close your eyes and bite into one of my copycat Butterfinger breakfast bars. Will you swear you are biting into the real thing? No of course not. Open your eyes, in your hand is a bar made from oats, natural peanut butter, dark chocolate and other healthy ingredients. There is no way on earth that it tastes like an honest to goodness Butterfinger bar. The actual factory made bar has 18 ingredients, including corn syrup, hydrogenated palm kern oil, tertiary butylhydroquinone, and monoglycerides. This recipe has 11 ingredients, 7 of them whole foods and all of them pronounceable.
“Farewell happy fields,
Where joy forever dwells: Hail, horrors, hail.”
-John Milton, Paradise Lost
Little known fact: the inspiration for Paradise Lost came from the time that Milton bit into a Hershey bar and realized that they taste more like wax than chocolate.
One bowl breakfast bars that hit all the notes of salty, sweet, crunchy, moist and chocolatey. 30 minutes from now you could be eating one instead of drooling over photos. What are you waiting for?
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup peanutbutter split into (2) 1/4 cups
- 1 mashed ripe banana
- 1/4 cup soft cooked chickpeas
- 3 tbsp maple syrup or agave
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup aquafaba, well reduced, see note at bottom of recipe. see note at bottom of recipe
- 1/2 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts
- 1/3 cup cacao nibs
- 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate or chips
- 1 cup sliced prunes soaked in fruit juice
- 1/3 cup fruit juice for soaking prunes optional
Thinly slice and soak your prunes in enough juice to cover. Allow them to soak for but 15 minutes. You can skip soaking your prunes if you want and you will still have a moist and delicious bar. Feel free to substitute raisins or any dried fruit.
Heat your oven to 350 Fahrenheit .
Take off your jewelry and start massaging the mixture, really getting in there and mashing those chickpeas. When you have a cohesive mass set the bowl aside.
Line an 8"X 8" metal pan with parchment. I use a strip that is as wide as the pan and a few inches longer so that I am only really lining 2 sides and the bottom. It makes it easier to lift the baked breakfast whole when it is done baking.
Scoop 1/2 your batter into the pan and smooth the top. Take that extra 1/4 cup peanut butter and dab it over the surface of your batter. Now place the rest of the batter over the peanut butter layer and smooth the top.
Pop it in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top of the bars and bake another 2 minutes until the chocolate is gooey. Remove from the oven and smear the chocolate in a smooth layer with an offset spatula. Sprinkle on the cacao nibs and chopped peanuts and return to the oven for 3 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cook on a rack. I usually gently press the peanuts and cacao nibs into the chocolate at this point incase some have not adhered.
Cut when completely cooled.
*One small can of chick peas usually renders me a bit over 3/4 of a cup. After 5 minutes in my microwave on high it has reduced to 1/2 cup and is perfect for most recipes. It will thicken as it cools. Of course you can reduce aquafaba on the stove in a sauce pan as well, I am a little absent minded and sometimes reduce my precious golden liquid until it is but a whisper in a burnt pan.
Aquafaba is the liquid left over from cooking legumes. Use canned or homemade. For my recipes I always mean fairly thick aquafaba. If you are using straight from a can just reduce it by 25%, about a 10 minute simmer on the stove. It will thicken as it cools.
It was first discovered a french tenor named Joël Roessel. An american (at least I think he is american) named Goose Wohlt picked up the torch and furthered investigations into this magical liquid. It is seriously magical, the holy grail for vegans as they could suddenly whip up meringues and macaroons and use it in all sorts of innovative ways. There is a marvelous Facebook Group called Aquafaba (Vegan Meringues Hits and Misses). They are an amazing inclusive helpful innovative bunch of people. I highly recommend you check them out.