I like to keep breakfast healthy and not too sugary, often starting the day with a bowl of oatmeal lightly sweetened with maple syrup, topped with some kind of fruit and a sprinkle of something that adds nutrition, like some ground flax or chia seeds.
However, I don’t crave a steaming hot bowl of oats so much on busier mornings when I don’t have time to sit down and eat it, or during the summer when it feels like it’s just too warm outside.
I like these cookie bars because my kids can easily walk out the door with one and I can have one alongside a cup of tea and not feel like I just ate a pastry instead of breakfast.
They have a few things in common with my usual oatmeal; a hit of flaxseed, a little spice and they’re loaded with fruit – tangy apricots are my favorite but any kind of moist dried fruit would be great, like dates, blueberries or cherries.
Apricot Breakfast Cookie Bars
Makes about 1 dozen
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon regular or quick cooking oats
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup moist dried apricots, snipped into ¼-inch pieces
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan. Cut a piece of parchment to fit along the bottom of the pan, leaving an overhang of 2 inches on 2 sides of the pan. (Turn the pan upside down to measure).
Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat for about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition; then add the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the 2 cups oats, flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients to the butter in 2 additions, mixing just until the flour is no longer visible. Stir in the apricots and coconut.
Scrape the batter in to the baking pan and sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining tablespoon oats and the flaxseed. Bake 25 – 30 minutes, until lightly browned and firm on top.
Cool on a rack for 10 minutes; then lift the whole cookie out of the pan using the handles and place on the rack to cool completely.
Use a sharp knife to cut into 12 squares. Keep the cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
apricot, baking, breakfast, cookie, fruit
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