Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Blueberry Breakfast Bars

I'm always looking for quick breakfast foods I can eat at work. This is perfect. I love blueberries and love breakfast bars. This recipe is courtesy of the blog Farmgirl Fare. It's an easy and quick breakfast. Although I can't say it's super healthy since the whole thing includes two sticks of butter. But it's so good!

Blueberry Breakfast Bars

Bottom Layer
2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

10 Tablespoons (1 stick + 2 Tb) butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Top Layer
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Middle Layer
3-1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tb. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

For the Bottom Layer:
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 9" x 13" pan. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Press this mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan with your fingers. (I also use the bottom of a stainless steel measuring cup to help make the crust flat and even.)

For the Middle Layer:
Place the blueberries in the bowl you mixed the Bottom Layer in and toss them with the almond extract. Pour them evenly over the Bottom Layer in the pan. Combine the sugar and flour and sprinkle it evenly over the blueberries. (Even when wet or frozen, the sugar/flour mixture wouldn't stick to my big fat blueberries when I tried tossing it with them. If yours will, just toss the sugar/flour mixture with the blueberries and then pour the whole mixture over the Bottom Layer in the pan.)

For the Top Layer:
Place the flour, brown sugar, and butter or vegetable oil sticks in a small bowl and use a fork, pastry blender, or your fingers to combine until the mixture resembles large crumbs (some pea-sized clumps are okay). Set aside.

Sprinkle the Top Layer evenly over the blueberry mixture. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden, and the edges are starting to brown. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Store in a cool place or refrigerate. Bars may also be frozen.

Just look at the blueberries and the golden Streusel crunch on top. Yum!

Like I said, I love blueberries. The oatmeal crunch on the bottom has rustic granola feel to it and I love the Streusel type topping on top. The almond extract in the middle layer is subtle. I didn't have any vanilla when I first made this dish, so I used almond extract in the bottom layer too. There was a much stronger almond flavor, but it added a nice dimension to it. The vanilla extract in the bottom is much more subtle. But in a pinch, you can use almond extract in all of it or vanilla extract in all of it.

The brown sugar taste that runs through the whole thing as a wonderful yumminess too. It can be a little sweet, so maybe cut down on the white sugar that you coat the blueberries in. Not all of it will stick, so you can use the leftover mixture to sprinkle over the bars or just toss. Of course with the sugar and butter, it's not exactly the healthiest breakfast ever, but I love it!

It's a one bowl dish and pretty easy. The toughest part is making the top layer. If you have a pastry cutter, use it. I used a fork. It's a lot of work and my arm definitely got tired. I need to go buy a pastry cutter... But it's so worth it.

Hope you'll give it a try. Happy cooking!

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