I was recently in a breakfast rut. I have numerous healthy and quick breakfast ideas in my bag of tricks, but lately they have all seemed to feel, well, stale. In an effort to discover something new, I began thinking back on my childhood and remembering these chocolaty, walnut breakfast bars that my mother would buy for my sister and I. Now as an adult, I realize that we need less processed and fresher foods, so after playing around with several potential recipes, I came up with this one. These are high-protein, low fat, low sugar, high fiber, and loaded with antioxidant goodness….and they taste great!
This version uses raspberries, since they are in season and on sale now, but blueberries, blackberries, and even strawberries, would be amazing in these bars. So this is a great way to utilize the best of the season, no matter what season we are in (think orange marmalade and orange slices during the winter), and to sneak some extra fruit into picky-eater diets. These can be made the night before, or just bake them while the family prepares for the day.
Dish idea: Need a quick dessert? Then try this: make a fruit sauce of fresh raspberries, or whatever fruit is used in the bars, (a cup of raspberries that are boiled with1/2 cup of sugar and a little water. Add a splash of brandy or cognac for added flare) and pour a couple of tablespoons of the syrup over the bars. Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and a fresh raspberry and shaved chocolate. Of course, the dessert wouldn’t be complete without a glass of port or a glass Oreana Winery’s, deep chocolaty, Barbera wine.
3.5 oz. dark chocolate bar (minimum 70% cocoa)
1.5 oz. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup Organic Raspberry fruit spread
½ cup turbinado sugar (can be purchased at Trader Joes, or use brown sugar)
1 ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup whole wheat all purpose flour
4 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup puffed wheat cereal (a high protein, crunch cereal, such as Kashi’s Go Lean Crunch would work well too)
Handful of walnuts, chopped (about ¾ to 1 cup)
Handful of fresh raspberries, sliced in half
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8″ x 8” pyrex baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper (read, no cleanup!)
- Fill a medium size saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and place a glass or ceramic bowl on top to create a double-boiler. Break the chocolate bar into pieces and add to the bowl. Add the butter and cocoa powder. Slowly melt the mixture, stirring frequently and resisting the urge to sample as you go. If your family is like mine, it is best to melt the chocolate after they are asleep, or ensure that you have extra for the sneaky samplers as they walk by the kitchen.
- In a large bowl, add the sugar, fruit spread, and vanilla. Mix well. Add the chocolate mixture and stir until blended. Again, you might need to do this step in hiding!
- Add the flour and the eggs, alternating between the two, a little at a time. Mix until the flour and egg are incorporated into the chocolate mixture. No need for a hand mixer here; a wooden spoon and elbow grease is all you need!
- Slowly stir in the cereal and walnuts. Fold in the sliced berries and pour into the baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. The center will be soft and moist.
- Place onto a wire rack to cool. Cut into bars (approximately 10 bars). Store bars in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze to use later. These are equally good warm, which, of course, is most likely how they will be when they will begin to disappear.