Our dear friends Tovah and Austin had a beautiful baby girl, Eve, last month, and I wanted to bake something for them that would be both nutritious and delicious. Those first few weeks are always a bit disorienting, and can drain any new parent of their energy. I found this recipe in the “Smitten Kitchen Cookbook,” for a breakfast bar that packs a lot of punch, since it is replete with fiber and protein. The result is a delicious bar that is both filling and satisfying.
- 1 cup chopped dried pitted dates
- 1 ¼ cup quick rolled oats
- 3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
- 1/3 cup wheat germ
- ½ cup thinly sliced almonds
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup almond butter
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-by-8-by-2-inch pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to go up the sides. Stir together the dates, oats, flour, wheat germ, almonds, salt, and cinnamon in the bottom of a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond butter, olive oil, honey, orange zest and almond extract until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry mixture, and stir them together until the dry ingredients are evenly coated. Spread the batter in the prepared pan, pressing the mixture firmly into the bottom, edges, and corners to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan.
Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges—don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan, do not worry—they’ll set once completely cool.
Cool the bars in their pan placed on a cooling rack or in the fridge. (Alternatively, after about 20 minutes you can lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process).
Once they’re cool, use a serrated knife to cut the bars into squares. If bars seem crumbly, chill them further in the fridge for 30 minutes, which will fully set the “glue,” then cut them cold.