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Friday, January 18, 2013

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Protein Bars


My cousin and friends came to visit a few weeks ago to run the Disney 2013 marathon. What a great time! To be properly carbed for the race, my friend Amy baked a delicious oatmeal breakfast casserole. Total score for me, oatmeal is my favorite breakfast food! After they left, I started wondering if I could create something more like a soft, chewy protein bar on-the-go type recipe.
 
I was largely experimenting and there are few things more rewarding than an experiement that turns out great on the first try! Here's the proportions I used and why each ingredient was added.
 

Ingredients: 
  • 1.5 cups old-fashioned oats (aka "rolled oats")
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut (really adds chewiness!)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (adds a slightly sweet/tart flavor and some additional chewiness. You could probably use any dried fruit, but I'd stick with something that has a bit of sourness to it)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (optional. you could also use honey or maple syrup, but not if you're using the optional chocolate and nutella)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)
  • 1/4 chocolate chips (optional)
  • 3 tbsp cocoa (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp nutella (optional)
  • 1.25 cups fat free milk (any milk would probably work)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Directions:
  1. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit an 8"x8" square pan
  2. Mix the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. Beat the egg slightly. If using nutella in the recipe, whisk it in with the egg so it is emulsified in the batter.
  4. Mix the other wet ingredients into the egg while whisking.
  5. Mix the wet and dry ingredients.
  6. Pour into the pan and bake at 350F for 40 minutes 
On the topic of chocolate - As a general rule, I'm only a fan of chocolate when it's in brownies or is dark and includes cherries. As an experiment, I added the chocolate chips, cocoa and nutella (listed as optional ingredients above) and holy smokes, it was amazing! Extremely chocolately and delicious, almost sinful. The bars would be delicious either way.

Other things that would be good in these is 1/4 nuts and a mashed banana. If you add a banana, I'd reduce the milk to 1 cup.

Thanks Amy for pointing me down this path!!


  

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