Almost healthy. Mostly wholesome. Decently nutritious.
I baked up these Blueberry Chocolate Walnut Breakfast Bars for our long airplane trip to Turkey this spring (Portland to Chicago to Frankfurt to Istanbul), then repeated them for our hike last weekend. Originally, I concocted them to cover multiple bases: they needed to be healthy, contain fruit, have enough protein to fill our bellies so we wouldn’t be tempted to buy crappy, overpriced airport snacks, and also serve as a vehicle for chocolate. I require chocolate on long flights. Or short flights. Or brief car trips or walks around the neighborhood.
Look–these are all healthy things. Oh, wait, the jury is still out on chocolate. But still, you’ll be surprised at all of the good-for-you ingredients you’re stirring in, compared to the relatively small amount of chocolate and sugar.
I would make these every weekend if I had a good excuse. Maybe that means I need to hike more.
Oh, a quick autobiographical note. You know I Jazzercise. Well, every summer the center holds an attendance contest. You sign up with a partner, and if you come to 60 classes between the two of you during June and July, you win this totally hot (not hot) tank top. Seriously, it isn’t attractive. But, the game is fun. I signed up with my Jazzerpal Cathy, and when I showed Michael a picture of the tank top, he said, “Bring home the shirt.” Evidently he’s challenging me to make it happen. If I do doubles of Jazzercise, then maybe I can make more breakfast bars. Right?
Back to bars. The baked goods, not the drinking establishments. These breakfast bars are a little crumbly and chewy, somewhat tender, and crunchy here and there because of the nuts. I love the pops of sweet blueberries and chocolate chips, offset by the oat-y, slightly salty dough and the toasty walnuts. Pack a few of them for your next hike. Or airplane trip.
Blueberry Chocolate Walnut Breakfast Bars
Yield: about 15 bars, depending on how you cut them
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried blueberries (I bought mine at Trader Joe’s because my regular store doesn’t carry them. You can substitute dried cranberries, but I really like the blueberries for this.)
1 cup chocolate chips (milk or dark, whatever you like)
2 cups oats (rolled oats or quick-cooking)
Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until well-combined.
With a stand mixer or hand mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, then mix to combine. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Stir the walnuts, blueberries, chocolate chips, and oats in by hand, which takes a little muscle.
Press the dough into your prepared baking dish, pushing it down into an even layer.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the dish on a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into bars (I’ve cut them into longer, granola bar-shaped pieces with good results, but wanted squarer pieces this time). Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze in a sealed container.