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)
- Oil a 9×13 pan with pan or coconut oil. Preheat oven to 265
- 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
- Add in all ingredients at once and stir until everything is coated with the milk and peanut butter mixture
- Turn all ingredients into the pan. Oil your fingers a bit, and press everything down into the pan
- Bake for ~1hour or until set. Let cool completely before trying to cut
- Wrap individually and refrigerate