Easy and Delicious Brain Bars


Every morning on my way to work in Madison, I stop at a local coffee shop (Barriques) and get a large iced tea, or two depending on how the day is shaping up, and a Brain Bar. I am addicted to these bars – they are oaty but not crunchy and filling well into lunch time. After countless months of unnecessary spending ($3 isn’t much, but it adds up) I decided it was time to start making myself breakfast bars.

I happened upon this recipe on Well Plated the other day and decided to test it out. They were delicious and a huge hit on the way to the game on Sunday morning – GO PACK GO! I would definitely make them again, but they were not quite the same as the Brain Bars I love.

A chance encounter yesterday with the bulk foods aisle at Whole Foods led to Round 2 of the bar baking extravaganza! After seeing all of the different fruits, nuts and seeds they had there, I was inspired to try again and maybe this time, replicate the Brain Bars. I definitely spent way too much time tying the different goodies into their little baggies, but what can I say, I was high on the idea developing a recipe.

Back in the laboratory (kitchen) I found this recipe, and decided it was close enough, and went for it. I made some adjustments to the measurements, the kitchen scale got a lot of use, and added in some peanut butter, and voila! By some stroke of luck (and I recognize this is a large and broad sweeping stroke) I did it. These bars are so close to the Brain Bars, I was shocked. They are crunchy, but not crispy, fruity but not overbearing, and sweet but a tad savory. I am so happy with how they turned out! All in all, for 20 bars, total cost is only ~$15-$20 depending on the fruits and nuts you use! Definitely an economical breakfast solution!

I hope you like this delicious and easy Brain Bar recipe! Let me know what you think!

Ellie’s Brain Bars

Adapted from the Brain Bars at Barriques and this recipe
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 Tbsp natural peanut butter (I used whole foods fresh ground)
  • 3 cups of old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups of finely shredded organic coconut
  • 1/2 cup of flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups seeds (I used pepitas and sunflower seeds)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I used unsweetened cranberries, apple juice sweetened cranberries, tart cherries, and blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cups nuts (I used cashews and slivered almonds)
  1. Oil a 9×13 pan with pan or coconut oil. Preheat oven to 265
  2. In a large pot, mix together the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter, and heat until warm, peanut butter and milk are combined, and easier to stir
  3. Add in all ingredients at once and stir until everything is coated with the milk and peanut butter mixture
  4. Turn all ingredients into the pan. Oil your fingers a bit, and press everything down into the pan
  5. Bake for ~1hour or until set. Let cool completely before trying to cut
  6. Wrap individually and refrigerate

Ellies Brain Bars-4 Ellies Brain Bars-3 Ellies Brain Bars-1

Join the Conversation (2)

  1. Kathi says:

    Kudos to you, Ellie! I too live in Madison and go to Barriques for their brain bars. I’ve searched on line looking for something that would approximate their recipe. This sounds just right, though I’d add in diced apricots. I am also trying to think of a good substitute for the sweetened condensed milk. Maple syrup doesn’t hold together and honey changes the taste too much. I’ll keep working on it.

    thank you for figuring out most of this for me. Kathi

    February 16, 2016