With Food Network’s Comfort Food Feast hosting a day of chocolate chip cookies in virtuous January, I racked my brain for a recipe that I could share with you that wouldn’t, you know, tempt you to eat chocolate chip cookies if you didn’t want to go there yet.
I remembered a recipe from Weelicious, a blog and book about cooking for kids and families. That seemed an unexpected choice for a quarter-life cook, but stay with me. I love kid food. The recipe I remembered is for breakfast bars, not-too-sweet rectangles of baked oatmeal punctuated by fruit and nuts.
To make my bars suitable for the adult palates around here, I made a couple of changes. Alex is a guy who believes in breakfast dessert, which usually takes the form of a small handful of chocolate chips. So chocolate chips replaced the fruit. The original recipe calls for applesauce, which isn’t something I usually have around. Out went applesauce, in went peanut butter (banned, I hear, in schools).
Last, I used pecans, whose rich, sweet flavor enhanced the chocolatey nature of these cookie-bars which function as a real, healthful, portable breakfast. In fact, I’m even more likely to eat these as snacks than breakfast, and I sometimes wrap them in plastic and stock in my purse, just in case hunger strikes.
Here are the other awesome chocolate chip cookies other bloggers have made for Food Network’s Comfort Food Feast. Yum!
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars
Makes 16 bars or 32 squares
Adapted from Weelicious
These are not too sweet at all – more like a bowl of oatmeal than a cookie. In my book, that’s ideal for breakfast and snacking. If you’d like them sweeter, add an extra tablespoon or two of brown sugar, and/or use milk chocolate chips instead of the semisweet. Also, if your peanut butter is very smooth or at room temperature, you probably won’t need the electric mixer – just stir everything together. Since my peanut butter was cold and stiff, it was helpful to have the mixer to incorporate into the other ingredients. These keep well in the fridge for 5 days.
2 cup oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup neutral oil
1 1/2 cup milk or almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
3/4 cup pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) . Grease two 4 1/2 by 8 1/2-inch loaf pans.
Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Beat together the peanut butter, sugar, and oil with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then, whisk in the milk by hand – carefully, so you don’t splatter. Stir in the vanilla.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and fold to combine. Stir in chocolate and 1/2 cup nuts and pour the batter into the two prepared pans. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining pecans.
Bake the bars for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden. Using an offset spatula, loosen the bars from the pan and turn onto a rack to cool completely. When cool, cut each pan into 8 bars. If you want smaller servings, cut each bar in half. Store in the fridge.