Blueberry Breakfast Bars

These are the ultimate all-purpose breakfast bars. They blend right in with a weekend brunch spread but are also the perfect help-get-me-through-morning-traffic snack. They boast a toasty flavor from the almonds and sesame seeds and a warm fragrance from the marriage of brown sugar and oats. While I love using fresh berries in the summer, in the dead of winter I rely on frozen blueberries I've stored from previous farmers' market hauls. Morning Notes: If you can't find rye flakes, feel free to use more rolled oats instead.

"Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons" by Megan Gordon. Copyright Ten Speed Press 2013. Provided courtesy of Megan Gordon. All rights reserved.
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 30 min
Prep: 20 min
Inactive Prep: 30 min
Cook: 40 min
 
YIELD: 12 to 16 bars, depending on size
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

BLUEBERRY FILLING:
  • 3 cups/720 milliliters fresh blueberries or one 12-ounce/350-gram package frozen blueberries, unthawed
  • 1/4 cup/45 grams natural cane sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon water
    CRUST:
    • 1/2 cup/50 grams rolled oats
    • 1 cup/100 grams rye flakes
    • 3/4 cup/60 grams sliced raw almonds
    • 1/4 cup/30 grams raw sesame seeds
    • 1 cup/120 grams whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 cup/75 grams packed light brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 large egg, beaten
    • 8 tablespoons/115 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes, plus more for greasing the pan
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
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    Directions

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square pan.

    To prepare the filling: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the berries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, and water. Stir over medium heat until the mixture begins to simmer. Continue stirring until the berries just begin to break down and the sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

    To prepare the crust: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse together the rolled oats, rye flakes, almonds, and sesame seeds just until they form a chunky, mealy texture, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder and pulse a time or two to combine. Add the egg and butter and pulse until the mixture has the consistency of large crumbs. Add the ice water slowly and pulse until the mixture just begins to clump together.

    To assemble and bake the bars: Press approximately half of the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Pour the berry filling onto the crust and spread evenly. Scatter the remaining crust mixture across the top as you would for a fruit crisp or crumble--messy and haphazard, but evenly dispersed. Don't worry about pressing down; it will bake into the bars beautifully.

    Bake until the top crumble is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan. Slice into bars. If wrapped and kept at room temperature, the bars will keep for 3 days.

    Make It Your Own: Try these with your favorite seasonal berries. Blackberries or huckleberries would be lovely, as would cherries.

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