The recipe for these bars almost didn’t make it to the blog. And that was not because they were not good or anything, it was because I had the hardest time photographing them.
On the day I made these breakfast bars Dwight was off. We thought that it would be fun to find a nice shady area on the island, pack up some late lunch for a picnic, and photograph them while we were enjoying our time together.
We decided to go to the historical part of the island, where the old sugar mills were located. In theory, it was a great idea as these beautiful mills were nested in a garden with picnic tables overlooking the ocean with the sunset view. However, we didn’t take one minor issue into consideration. And that was the no-see-ums.
No-see-ums are tiny biting insects that live and breed in tropical climates. They are so tiny that you may not even see them (hence the name), but let me tell you something- there is no way you wouldn’t feel them. They love hanging out by the water, especially during the sunset. On that day, we were both wearing shorts and short sleeve t-shirts, and we had brought delicious food with us for our so-called “fun picnic”. As you can imagine, for no-see-yums it was a jackpot.
At first, we put some mosquito repellent on our body thinking that it would keep them away. However, it wasn’t long after we realized that mosquito repellents keep mosquitos away, not no-see-ums. As I was photographing the breakfast bars, they were biting my legs so badly that I didn’t think that I could continue. I shoot these photos as quickly as I could and then we came back home. But little did I know, the worst was yet to come.
The next morning, I was awaken by the worst itch ever. When I went into the bathroom and looked myself in the mirror, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I got bit from more than 200 places all over my body – legs, arms, neck, face, and even in between my toes. And the worst part was that every single one of them was itching like crazy. It hurt like hell so much so that I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.
With the hopes of somewhat managing the itch, I went for a dip in the ocean, and literally stayed in there for 2 hours. But even after that, I was still itching like a mad person. Long story short, I had to go to the clinic and get some medicine to stop this madness. The doctor prescribed a topical steroid cream to put on and an antihistamine to take to minimize the swelling. Sadly, even with the medicine it took another 24 hours for the itching to stop. Needless to say, it was one of the worst things I have ever experienced in my life. But I learned a good lesson. From now on, you will never see me wearing shorts during sunset.
Thankfully, a couple of the photos I took on that day came out well. I know I could have taken them again, but God knows I didn’t feel like doing anything that reminded me of that day.
Apart from everything that happened on that day, these breakfast bars were delicious. They were loaded with healthy ingredients like oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, and white beans. Yes, you read it right – white beans.
In the past, I have read bakers use white beans as a substitute for butter for healthy (or vegan) baking, but I have never tried it myself up until I made these breakfast bars. To be quite honest, I didn’t think that they would work well, but I know now – I was wrong. They made a great alternative to butter.
The process of making these breakfast bars is no different than making cookie dough. You basically stir the dry and wet ingredients separately, and then mix them together. You add the nuts and dried fruits before shaping them into bars. But the difference of this recipe is that instead of using all-purpose flour and butter, you use oat flour and white beans, which are obviously much healthier ingredients. Especially the white beans… As they are a great source of fiber and protein, when you eat one of these bars in the morning it keeps you full longer than many other breakfast options. And you know what?!
The delicious flavorings (cinnamon, orange zest, coconut oil, and maple syrup) used in this recipe masks the taste of white beans so much so that you can’t even tell that they are a part of the ingredients list.
I don’t know you, but in my book this qualifies them as the magical ingredient.
Fully Loaded Breakfast Bars
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons of filtered water
- 3 1/4 cups rolled oats (certified as gluten-free)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 1/2 cup or (15 ounce) can cooked white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or raw honey
- zest of an orange
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup dried apricots or other dried fruit you have on hand, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds lightly toasted
- 1 cup chopped 70% chocolate chopped (I used Valhrona brand) – Optional –
- Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
- Mix chia seeds and water in a small bowl and let it sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, process 1 1/2 cups of the rolled oats in a food processor until it turns into flour. Transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the rest of the rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- Place the white beans and coconut oil into the bowl of the food processor and process until creamy. Add in the chia seeds (with water), maple syrup, orange zest, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Pulse until everything is combined and it is smooth mixture.
- Pour the white bean mixture over the rolled oats mixture. Add in the apricots, pumpkin seeds, and chocolate. Stir to combine. At this point, you may have to use your hands.
- Shape the dough into 10 equal balls and then flatten them into patty shape. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, flipping the sheet halfway through the baking process.
- Let them cool completely before serving. They can be kept in an airtight container in room temperature up to a week.
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This recipe is adapted (with minor changes) from Sarah Britton’s cookbook My New Roots.