Food and Whine's healthy cereal bars with a new and improved crust!
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup strawberries
1/4 cup water or juice
2 cups flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, or a combination)
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
2 tbsp wheat germ
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
In a saucepan on medium-high heat, simmer the filling ingredients until the fruit is soft. Blend until smooth and thick with an immersion blender.
While the filling cools, make your dough. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, flax, wheat germ and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter utnil mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk and form a ball with the dough. Add more flour as necessary if it's too sticky. On a floured surface, take half the dough at a time and roll it out into a rectangular shape with about 1/8" thickness. Cut the dough into long strips with about a 3" width. Spread a thin layer of filling down the centre of the strips. Fold the strips over and seal the edges shut. Cut the strips into 3" bars. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet at bake at 350F for 16-18 minutes.
Makes about 18-20 bars.
Here is the original recipe for comparison: Fruit Filled Mini Cereal Bars. I liked the idea of this cereal bar and I was happy with the original filling, but the dough needed some work. Many people found it too hard to work with and too chewy. I decided to attempt them again with a major overhaul to the dough part of the recipe. Although I like applesauce, honey, and oats, they were making the dough too sticky so I had to omit them this time. For this new recipe I used brown sugar for sweetness instead of honey and applesauce, and flax and wheatgerm for added nutrition instead of quick oats. I also replaced the oil with butter that is cut into the flour, like a biscuit or pastry dough. I think this improved the texture a lot. So what did the kids think? Well, Cole wasn't impressed. I think it's because I used all whole wheat flour so the crust was a little tougher than if I had used all-purpose flour. Next time I'll try a combination of flours to see if it's more to Cole's liking. Bennett took one bite and handed it back to me. I think he just wasn't hungry, because when I gave it to him again a little while later he enjoyed it. As with any new recipe it is a work in progress but I think this version is at least an improvement. There is probably some more tweaking to do but it's getting there. Please try it and let me know what you think, I really appreciate the feedback!
Oh, and I made some of them with a heart-shaped cookie cutter. So cute! I might do more of them like that next time.