Last week a friend suggested we take a deconstructed look at breakfast bars. As a working mother of two under four, her mornings are busy and rushed yet she wants to provide a healthy start to her kids’ day. One day in a pinch, she picked up a nationally recognized brand bar for the following morning’s breakfast. Ten minutes after eating the bar, her son was bouncing off the walls. That little self-proclaimed “health” bar, had turned a quiet morning into a wild, stress-filled kickoff to the day.
Aren’t school mornings challenging enough?
So that brings me to the question: When we need to turn to a quick, on-the-go breakfast for our kids, do we amp them up with a bar chock full of high fructose corn syrup or fuel them up with a whole grain, fruit-rich breakfast bar?
THE COMPARISON: Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars Strawberry vs. Out of the Box Food Berry Breakfast Bars
(All ingredients followed by an * can be referenced at www.wikipedia.org by clicking on the ingredient)
Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars Strawberry
- whole grain oats
- enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate* [vitamin B1], riboflavin [vitamin B2], folic acid)
- whole wheat flour
- soybean oil (with TBHQ* and citric acid for freshness)
- high fructose corn syrup*
- soluble corn fiber
- calcium carbonate
- wheat bran
- potassium bicarbonate*
- propylene glycol*
- mono- and diglycerides*
- soy lecithin*
- natural and artificial flavor*
- wheat gluten
- vitamin A palmitate
- zinc oxide
- reduced iron
- guar gum*
- pyridoxine hydrochloride* (vitamin B6)
- thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin B1)
- riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- folic acid
It’s time for this week’s Find the Fruit game. What position does strawberry take in the ingredient list? Is it first? Nope, that position’s taken by high fructose corn syrup. Second? Wrong again, that spot is held by corn syrup (not to be mistaken with it’s predecessor high fructose corn syrup. Oh yes, there it is: third position! Is it whole fruit? Nope, strawberry puree concentrate. Hmmm…
**All listed product ingredients are taken from product’s package label. Though Out of the Box Food makes every effort to provide complete ingredient information, please check the package for the most current information.
Out of the Box Food Berry Breakfast Bars
SERVES: Makes 16, 2″x3″ bars
TIME: Prep- 15 min Cook – 35-40 min
SUPPLIES: 9″ x 13″ baking pan, medium sauce pan, parchment paper, plastic wrap
- 2 C whole wheat pastry flour (See PERFECT PANTRY STAPLES for where to buy)
- 1 C bread flour
- 1/2 C flaxseed meal (See PERFECT PANTRY STAPLES for where to buy)
- 1/3 C oat bran (optional for a “heartier” bar)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 C butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
- 1/2 C unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/2 C brown sugar (lightly scooped, not packed)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg divided
- 24 oz frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
- 2-4 tbsp cornstarch
- Heat frozen fruit in medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stir occasionally.
- Cook for 15 minutes or until fruit begins to break down and thicken slightly.
- Whisk in cornstarch and continue to cook for additional five minutes.
- Remove from heat and transfer to heat proof bowl. Refrigerate until cool. (can be done up to two days before)
- In a large bowl whisk together flours, flaxseed meal, sea salt, baking powder and baking soda.
- In a separate bowl, (preferably bowl of mixer with paddle attachment) cream butter, sugar, applesauce and vanilla.
- Add whole egg and egg yolk. Blend. (save egg white for later use)
- Slowly add dry mixture to wet and blend to combine.
- Cut two pieces of plastic wrap (approximately 18″ long)
- Divide dough in half and place one half on center of each piece of plastic wrap.
- Shape dough into rectangular bricks and wrap.
- Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove dough and fruit from refrigerator.
- Place parchment paper in 9″ x 13″ pan.
- Lightly flour work surface and roll one brick of dough to 9″ x 13″.
- Lay dough in prepared pan and spoon fruit mixture over the dough (leave 1/2″ border)
- Whisk egg wash and brush along 1/2″ border.
- Roll remaining brick of dough to 9″ x 13″ and lay over fruit, pressing edges to seal egg washed border. Trim any excess dough.
- Brush top with remaining egg wash.
- Bake 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Lift parchment with cereal bars out of pan and let cool completely.
- Trim off rough edges and slice into 2″ x 3″ bars.
*Bars can be kept in airtight container for 3 days.
**Bars can also be frozen and thawed for later use.
All breakfast/cereal bars are not created equal. Though some store bought brands score higher in “wholesome” ingredients or contain sweeteners other than high fructose corn syrup, please check package ingredients and choose wisely should you opt to purchase them. Some “healthier” brands do contain hidden additives. Until next week…
© 2010 – 2012, kimgerber. All rights reserved.