Mixed Berry Snack Bars (Nut-Free)

 In Back To School, Breakfast, Brownies and Bars, Nut Free, Snacks

Nut-free mixed berry snack bars are a perfect on-the-go breakfast, snack or treat

This has been a good summer for berries.  We would pick up strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries at the Farmer’s Market every Friday (of the Fridays we were in town).  We’d eat most of them by Sunday afternoon, leaving us wanting more!

Around here, berry availability is somewhat limited.  As the weather cools, strawberries tend to disappear from the market shelves.  Blackberries and raspberries take on a different flavor and are often tougher.  Blueberries live on through December.  Somehow.

I really wanted to create a recipe using the fresh berries we’ve enjoyed this season.  In the winter months, I may try this recipe with frozen berries and see what happens (I’ll keep you posted).  And in the spirit of Back-to-School, I wanted to make something that could serve as a quick breakfast, a snack or even dessert.  I think these bars fall squarely into each of those categories.

Nut-free mixed berry snack bars are perfect for on-the-go-breakfast, snack or treat

Nut-free mixed berry bars are perfect for on-the-go breakfast, snack or treat

So, now I’m curious.  What were your favorite snacks at school?  I loved Nutri-Grain bars.  Remember those?  I also recall graham crackers and orange juice in those diner-style textured plastic cups.  In high school, the cafeteria opened for morning break and everyone got the nachos.  When I think back on that, how gross!  Stale tortilla chips slathered in some orange-colored substance that was clearly NOT cheese.  We also had a “chuck truck” come every now and then.  We call them “mobile eateries” now.   This truck had the best fried chicken sandwich.  The chicken was sliced onto the bun and covered – I mean enveloped – in mayonnaise.  I ate it every chance I got.  I really wonder how I didn’t graduate from high school obese.  Because I also ate a lot of Carl’s Jr. (that would be Hardees in the South).  God bless teenage metabolism, right?  Ugh.

Now that I am more aware of what we consume and the impact our food has on our bodies, I want my kids to have the very best.  I want them to enjoy what they’re eating and not feel guilty about how it was made.  That’s part of why I maintain this blog.  So, I can share those recipes with you.  If you follow along, you’ll know that not everything I make is “healthy.”  I use real butter, real sugar, but nothing processed or with chemicals (except for those S’mores cupcakes….the Fluffer Nutter is really no good for you.  But, you only live once, right?  And unless you’re eating the entire dozen, the Fluffer Nutter will not be the thing that kills you (one of my favorite sayings, by the way)).

I hope your kiddos like these bars.  Let me know what they think!

Recipe Notes:

– You can use any combination of berries in this recipe. I used strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.  I recommend that you cut the larger berries to be similar in size to the smaller berries.  Not just for uniformity, but so that you taste each kind of berry in every bite.

– I like to use a conserve because it is smooth.  Feel free to use your favorite kind of conserve, jam or jelly, however.

Mixed Berry Snack Bars

http://www.bakeforyourlife.com/recipes/recipe/mixed-berry-snack-bars-3/

  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 50m
  • Total Time: 1h 10m

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, frozen, plus more for greasing
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped mixed berries (see note in post)
  • 1/2 cup mixed berry conserve (see note in post)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

How To Do It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flours, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda with a fork.
  3. Cut in the butter by grating it on a box grater right into the oat and flour mixture. It’s best to use your hands to massage the butter in until you have a coarse meal with no particularly large chunks.
  4. Grease an 8x8-inch glass baking dish with butter.
  5. Press about two thirds of the oat/flour mixture into the bottom of the dish so an even layer forms.
  6. Bake the bottom for about 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the berries. Mix the chopped berries, conserve and lemon zest in a small bowl. Toss to combine.
  8. Remove the baking dish from the oven and move to a heat-proof surface. Pour the berry mixture into the pan, spreading the fruit around until an even layer forms.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining oat/flour mixture on top of the berries.
  10. Return the dish to the oven and bake another 40 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan about 30 minutes. Move to the fridge and allow to cool completely (about 2 hours) before slicing.
  12. These bars are best kept in the fridge. They’ll last up to 5 days.
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