I have created a delightful-smelling but confusing kitchen object. It is like an oatmeal cookie, but for breakfast, and in bar form. They’re sort of like baked oatmeal + cookie + better. (That’s a lie. Cookies are better. These are more breakfasty, though.)
I needed a portable breakfast thing for the foreseeable future, so I did extensive research on granola bars and such and settled on the one that looked the most like a cookie and included chocolate chips. (But she says that it is not very sweet and is suitable for breakfast, and I like her blog title—Big Girls, Small Kitchen—so all in all it seemed like the correct choice.)
The hardest thing about making this was preheating the oven. I REALLY did not want to preheat the oven. I waited until I had basically finished assembling them, and then decided I couldn’t put it off any longer. (And I even turned the air conditioner on to offset the oven, so now global warming is my fault and I feel bad. Sorry, world.) But anyway, what I actually meant was that these are extremely easy—you just put things in a bowl and stir them. I guess the other hard part was opening my jar of peanut butter, and then getting the peanut butter out; it had been all the way in the back of the fridge and had sort of frozen, or at least really intensively solidified.
This is all out of order now. First I assembled the dry ingredients: oats (regular, not instant; maybe this is an unnecessary caveat for everyone but me, who prefers breakfast in 2.5 minutes rather than 6 minutes); whole-wheat flour (store in the fridge or freezer to avoid rancidness); salt; baking powder.
Then I whisked together the wet ingredients—the peanut butter (which did not want to be whisked, but I made it be whisked), sugar (I had to make my brown sugar first, which was annoying), oil (I used peanut because it seemed like it would be less weird than olive). Then I added the egg and then the milk.
Then I mixed everything together. Then I crumbled some walnuts—well I broke bits off them—and added them, along with the chocolate chips and some Craisins, because Craisins are awesome.
That was about it. Then I baked them.
They smelled good.
I also learned that it takes less than five minutes to change a bed’s sheets. I really hate doing it and it always seems like it takes forever, but my timer had five minutes left on it so I changed my sheets, and after I finished the bars still weren’t done. I am just telling you this in case you have a similar problem with sheet-changing and general relativity.
UPDATE: Some more thoughts—mine were in the fridge overnight and when I ate one the next day it was rather dense and dry. I think using apple sauce instead of the peanut butter would definitely help (see below); I’m also going to try microwaving it tomorrow and seeing if it’s better warm.
Oatmeal cookie breakfast bars
Barely adapted from Big Girls, Small Kitchen
2 c regular oats
1 c whole-wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c peanut butter (If you don’t like peanut butter, use something else—the taste is VERY apparent. Next time I’ll use almond butter or figure out a way to omit it altogether. Oh… I just saw that the original recipe—which Big Girls adapted—used applesauce instead.)
3 tbsp brown sugar (more if you want it sweeter; I can’t eat much sugar in the morning or I feel like dying for the rest of the day)
1/4 neutral oil (I believe this usually means canola or grapeseed; I used peanut because I figured the taste would get lost in the actual peanut butter. I think vegetable oil would be fine too—basically, just don’t use olive oil)
1 1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla (huh, I completely forgot this)
1 1/2 c combination of semisweet chocolate chips, Craisins/other diced dried fruit, and/or nuts (I used walnuts)
Preheat the oven to 375°, unless your apartment is too hot.
Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk the peanut butter, sugar, and oil together in a large bowl; then whisk in the egg; then the milk (and vanilla, apparently). Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate chips, fruit, and nuts.
Bake in a 9×9 cake pan (greased, unless yours is really effectively nonstick, which mine generally is) for about 30 minutes. After 25, I poked the top of the granola bars and decided they were a little too soft, so I gave them a few more minutes; I think they could have baked for even longer, though. (They are very soft and cakey. I kind of want them to be firmer in some way. Unless that’s a bad idea. I may experiment and get back to you.) After they had cooled a bit, I cut them into ten pieces, pried them out of the cake pan, and put them in the fridge.
Oh, happy Labor Day.