/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » tasty tuesday: whole grain breakfast bars


I was contemplating and ready to put up my Bok Choy stir fry recipe for today’s cooking post, but decided against it as I sat down to lunch with a freshly-baked, warm breakfast bar.  This is really yum-o and worth sharing.  We use breakfast cookies (and now, bars) as an alternative to a bowl of oatmeal in the morning – I wrap them individually and store them in the fridge so they’re ready to go.

I’ve never soaked grains before, but I did with this recipe.  I’ve heard for years that I “should” and that it’s “better,” but the time needed to do so (8-12 hours) and the acidic liquid (typically buttermilk) needed was more than I could muster.  I’m pretty happy that my family eats whole wheat and whole grain without complaint – and right now, adding in an extra 8-12 hours for soaking is beyond me.  I know this much about myself and although some people can, I can’t.  And I’m okay with my limitations.  😉

If you do opt to soak your grains, I think one of the main differences I’ve noticed is a fluffier, more cake-like texture to the finished product.  They are delicious no matter what, and since I actually had some buttermilk on hand (procured for $.50 at our local grocery), I figured I’d give it a whirl.  I probably won’t do it often, as I don’t keep buttermilk on hand with any regularity, but for those who regularly soak your grains, this recipe adapts well.

That said, this is recipe yields about 12 bars (they are large) and they are filling enough that I just wrapped up half and put it away.  I simply couldn’t eat it all.  The extras in the recipe are raisins and bittersweet chocolate chips, but it adapts well if you’d like to substitute your own fruit/nut/extra ideas.  Recipes are, as I always say, merely suggestions.  And this recipe is quite forgiving.

Sue’s Breakfast Bars
  • 1 c. melted coconut oil
  • ½ c. buttermilk (I used close to a cup, as it was my first time soaking and the half-cup didn’t seem adequate)
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1½ c. rolled oats (NOT steel-cut oats)


If you opt to soak your grains, mix these well with a mixer and allow them to stand overnight.  Be aware that in the morning, this mixture will be quite stiff and difficult to stir by hand. I recommend using a mixer if you do soak your grains.

If you opt to skip the soaking, keep going down the ingredient list and beat long enough to incorporate all ingredients well.


  • ¾ c. honey
  • 1 t. EACH baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, & sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ c. coconut flakes
  • ¼ c. sesame seeds
  • ¾ c. raisins
  • ⅔ c. bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks

Incorporate all until well-combined; place in to a 9×13″ pan (rubbed-down with coconut oil), and bake at 350F for 25-35 minutes.  If you feel the middle isn’t as well-baked as the edges, feel free to turn off the oven and keep the door closed as residual heat finishes the job without burning the edges.

Cool, cut in to generous pieces, wrap, and let your family dig in as needed.  The texture of the coconut flakes is nearly gone in the baking process, and the sesame seeds provide a nice flavour that is missing from my breakfast cookie recipe.

Bon Apetit!


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  • rodsmith

    Sue, you can use a tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of water (or milk) to achieve the same acid effect as buttermilk for soaking purposes.

    The purists prefer acid from a fermented product to improve biodiversity, but vinegar or lemon juice will have the same effect on the wheat with less effect on the end-flavor, and lemon juice is easy to keep on hand.

  • Christine

    Hey Sue,
    Thanks for the fun chat today. My kids have eaten so many berries, I’m sure some thing blue will come from their bodies tomorrow – LOL.

    Just checking out your recipes and wanting all of them at this point:-)

    Anyhoo, can you please tell me why I see you use the coconut oil in several recipes? Just wondering if it makes a big diff or if you can substitute since I’m not sure where to find this.


  • http://www.mamasheartblog.com sue

    Hey Christine!

    It was great re-meeting you, too – looking forward to more time in the group together. :)

    Coconut Oil (CO) is my main oil. I use it and butter exclusively here. The health benefits of CO are outstanding and between research at Weston A Price Foundation (www.westonaprice.org) and other research, we’ve made the switch. I use about a gallon every 6-7 months or so. You can substitute butter for the CO, but I don’t recommend using a margarine or butter substitute or canola oil. Olive oil sometimes transfers well, but most of these recipes call for an oil that solidifies when it’s cool.

    I could talk for hours about CO – so lemme know if you want a CO primer. 😉


  • nancy

    I would like to try the whole grain breakfast bars, but was wondering if you have the nutritional info available on them.



  • http://www.mamasheartblog.com sue

    Hi Nancy –

    I don’t have the nutritional information, but you’re welcomed to break down the ingredients and calculate it on your own. I don’t pay attention to the nutritional labels (at all), so it never occurred to me. If you’d like to do it on your own, please feel free to post the information in a comment for others! :)

    Thanks for asking!