School starts back here tomorrow, and breakfast truly becomes the most important meal of the day to me. Mostly because my daughter views eating during social situations as an inconvenience and will come home starving because “we made up a new game and my super powers were needed.” In her mind, lunchtime is definitely not for eating, but for saving make-believe worlds or having a monkey bar competition. So I try to fuel up my super hero with something nutritious and filling before her school day starts. I am a big fan of oatmeal for this reason, but she is a fickle friend of hot cereals. Enter a new twist: forgo stovetop cooking and unappetizing-looking bowls of mush your kids cry bitter tears into and mix your whole grains with a couple tasty ingredients to pop in the oven for an updated and kid approved version of oatmeal.
If you are a subscriber, then you know that our featured attachment this month is the Flake Mill. Ashley shared a delicious Rye and Oat Bread a couple weeks ago featuring freshly “flaked” or rolled rye and oats. And our bonus post used freshly rolled oats mixed with peanut butter and cocoa for hard to resist no-bake cookies. (become a subscriber to get bonus recipes every month!) The flake mill is probably one of the easiest attachments to use, and allowed me to not only utilize oats in my breakfast bars, but barley and brown rice as well.
The bars come together very quickly (always a must for school mornings!) but do take some forethought because the grains soak in buttermilk overnight. This results in a texture that barely resembles hot cereal but something between a muffin and cornbread once baked. And because of the buttermilk and addition of eggs, these bars are not only a good source of whole grain carbohydrates and fiber but protein as well.
I love the combination of vanilla, orange and blueberry but feel free to play around with these ingredients. I always try to point out the “flavoring” ingredients in a recipe to show people that recipes aren’t set in stone and can be customized to personal tastes. Any dried fruit can replace the blueberries, and the zest can be replaced with spices like cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Vanilla can be swapped out for other flavoring extracts. You could also use honey instead of maple syrup if you prefer. And, if you need these to be gluten free, just replace the barley with more oats.
This recipe makes a large batch for my family of 3, but leftovers are great stored in the fridge for breakfasts and snacks throughout the week. I like to serve it with a little dollop of yogurt.
To all you parents of school-aged children: good luck with the new school year and endless parade of school lunches and snacks to be prepped and packed. Hopefully this recipe makes breakfast time a little less hectic. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.
3 Grain Breakfast Bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 8 hours or overnight
1/2 cup each: oat groats, hulled or hulless barley and brown rice*
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
5 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
zest of 1 small orange
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup dried blueberries
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
Attach the flake mill to the Ankarsrum mixer base. Place a medium sized bowl underneath the attachment to catch the grain flakes. Turn speed on low and run the oat groats, barley and brown rice through. This will give you approximately 2 3/4 cups flaked grain.
Pour buttermilk over flaked grains and gently stir to thoroughly combine. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Once flaked grain has soaked, preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside until ready to use.
Add remaining ingredients to grain mixture. Stir just until combined. Pour into prepared pan and smooth out mixture so it is evenly distributed in the pan.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and sides are beginning to brown.
Let cool for 10 minutes and then cut into pieces and serve.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
*Cook’s note: for gluten free, replace barley with an equal amount of oat groats. Oats are naturally gluten free but can sometimes be cross-contaminated with other grains in the packaging facility so double-check your source if you have a gluten allergy.
Yield: 12 servings