Breakfast Fridaaaayyyy, people!
Today I'm sharing a recipe that I've been meaning to make for awhile now. And by awhile, I mean years. Why do I even make to-do lists?
This post is sponsored by Rodelle. All products have been tested and approved by my taste buds.
My goal was to make a breakfast bar that actually holds you over the entire morning, doesn't fall apart when you bite into it, and is also super thick and chewy. Too much to ask? I think not.
Oh, they also must be studded with Rodelle vanilla beans and laced with a subtle hint of maple syrup.
It's like oatmeal to go. Handheld oatmeal! Whatever you want to call it, I've finally landed on the keeper recipe. It only took a week of my life to figure this one out, with the slightest of tweaks each round.
The point of this recipe was to provide a super nutritious, handheld breakfast, with tons of chew and light on the sweetness. Easy for the kiddos to grab + go, but equally as awesome for adults. They're not supposed to be like bread or cake or muffins. This is an every-day-of-the-week type breakfast.
However, you can jazz it up with a dutch chocolate drizzle when you feel like you need a little treat-yo-self action. Like on a Friday. Like I just did today. Paired with a pumpkin spice latte from Angela.
And speaking of Angela, I'm in the home stretch of photographing her second cookbook! I've been shooting 6-7 days/week for the past 3 months and eating my face off the entire time. I cannot even begin to explain how killer the recipes are. Every single one of them!
And the collaboration doesn't stop there! I'm now photographing for her blog! It started with that pumpkin spice latte I mentioned above. Pretty dang cool. Someone pinch me.
Now back to these oatmeal bars and those tiny flecks of vanilla beans.
Do you ever think about things like, how were vanilla beans discovered? Who split the first one open and was all, "let's mix these into some muffins or ice cream!" I'm well aware that was probably not how they were first used. But, if you've ever actually tasted vanilla beans straight from the pod, your first thought probably wouldn't be to add them to food. They're pretty potent when not dispersed in something sweet. So I'm curious when the first person decided to use vanilla beans in cooking. Someone tell me!!! (I'm aware of the site called Google.)
I've been continuously impressed with the quality of vanilla beans I've used from Rodelle (and their extracts!). They're almost juicy when you slice into them and have a hefty amount of beans inside. You may remember my first collaboration with Rodelle a few months back. You know, the vanilla muffins. I so appreciate their attentiveness to not only the quality of their products, but to how they treat their farmers and give back to the farming communities.
Now. As far as toppings go, it's all up to you. PB + jelly is one of my favs but the dutch cocoa drizzle isn't too shabby either.
These bars are substantial. They're thick + chewy and meant to be that way. They're very similar in texture to a Bobo's Oat Bar, if you've ever tried one of those. If you slice them into 5 bars it's like eating 1/2 cup of oatmeal with walnuts, almond butter, and a few other ingredients mixed in. Breakfast of champions.
Maple Vanilla Oatmeal Bars
gluten-free + vegan // yields: 5 servings
- 2 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 3/4 cup walnut halves + pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons creamy natural almond butter (oil drained off top and stirred well)
- 1 Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 1 teaspoon Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup water
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Line an 8x4" bread pan with parchment so it covers the bottom and long sides of the pan only. Grease the small ends of the pan with coconut oil.
Place oats in your food processor and process for about 8-10 seconds until coarsely ground. You want some whole oats to remain. (Refer to photo 2.) Empty into a large mixing bowl. Add walnuts to the processor and process until you're left with pebble-sized pieces. A few larger pieces are fine. Empty into the mixing bowl and add the salt. Stir well.
Melt the coconut oil and pour into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk in the maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla beans, and vanilla extract vigorously, until fully combined. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix with a large spoon until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Use your hands if needed.
Pour in the water and mix with a large spoon until fully incorporated. Let sit for 5 minutes. The texture should be like very thick oatmeal. Empty into the pan and spread firmly with the back of the spoon or a spatula. Make sure it's level and spread from edge to edge. Bake for 16-20 minutes. The center will be slightly soft to the touch (not wet) and the edges will be more firm.
Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan. Carefully lift the block out by the parchment sides and place on a cooling rack (with parchment still attached). Let fully cool. Remove parchment. Slice into 5 bars or 10 squares.
- If you don't have vanilla beans on hand, simply substitute 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (in total).
- Store in a sealed container on the counter or in the fridge. Top as desired before eating. Heat before eating if desired. Bars hold together really well and don't need refrigeration to stay together. Perfect for packed lunches or breakfast to go! If adding the chocolate drizzle, you'll want to keep them refrigerated.
- You can most likely double this recipe and bake in an 8x8 pan. Baking time may increase slightly. A 9x5 pan will also work. Bars will be slightly thinner and bake time will decrease by a few minutes. If you don't have parchment paper, thoroughly grease the pan with softened coconut oil. Cool in the pan for 45 minutes, then loosen the edges with a butter knife. Cover the top of the pan with one hand and flip over. Place right side up on a cooling rack and let fully cool.
Dutch Chocolate Drizzle
- 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons dutch processed cocoa, sifted (or unsweetened cocoa/cacao powder)
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
Melt the coconut oil and pour into a small mixing bowl. Whisk in all other ingredients until smooth. Pour into a small ziploc bag and seal. Cut a tiny corner from the bottom of the bag and gently squeeze to drizzle over the bars. Refrigerate bars until chocolate has hardened. Eat or keep stored in a sealed container in the fridge. Chocolate softens quickly at room temp.
This post was sponsored by Rodelle. Opinions are always my own and products are thoroughly tested before sharing. Thank you for supporting the occasional sponsored post that helps fund all the deliciousness you find here!