It’s not often that I buy Nutri-grain bars. We actually really like them (the taste that is) but even though they say “Made with real fruit”, there’s a lot more in them than that- including food dyes! Recently, we stopped purchasing foods with dyes because of my niece Maddie. She’s one of those that turns hyperactive when she eats them. Now we check every label!
So, what do we always do when my kids like something that I’m not comfortable having in the house? We make our own! Which is what we decided for the delicious Nutri-grain bars. We made our own cereal bars with more natural ingredients, actual fruit, and no food dyes to be found!
Let’s compare our list of ingredients- The commercial version has a few ingredients we don’t like and a whole lot of other ingredients we don’t normally keep in our pantry. Our filling consisted of pure strawberries, while the commercial brand listed more sugar than strawberry in the filling.
Making your own can be fun to experiment with other filings as well. Stick with the fruit that is in season, or even just use some whole fruit jam as your filling. Or for dessert, try almond butter and chocolate chips!
OK- So this is what we did. First I made the dough (full recipe below)
Then, we rinsed, de-stemmed, and chopped up the strawberries in a food processor until smooth. I’ve also done this where I break up the strawberries over the stovetop first, over some low heat, and then blend it up. It does get a little smoother, but you may want to leave it chunky. Your choice.
Then, we rolled out the dough, and spread our strawberries down the side of a square piece of dough, and folded over. We pinched the sides to keep the filling in, and then baked it.
They turned out truly delicious! The one complaint I had from my kids (and husband), was there wasn’t enough filling. The more filling I tried to add, the tougher it was to fold the dough over without everything spilling out. So, if you have any advice, let us know!
Homemade Strawberry Cereal Bars
Cream the coconut, agave, vanilla and egg, with an electric mixer. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to your creamed ingredients, a little at a time, with an electric mixer, until it is well incorporated. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour. Once chilled, roll out on wax paper, using flour where necessary so it doesn't stick to your rolling pin, or the counter.
Cut and wash 1 cup of strawberries. Put them in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon of water. Using the edge of a wooden spoon, slowly break the strawberries up until the start to break apart. After about 5 minutes, pour strawberries into a food processor and blend until smooth. If you still would like it a little thicker, at this point, return the pureed strawberries to the saucepan, and add 1/2 tablespoon of corn starch with a few drops of water *enough to turn the corn starch liquid. Add to the strawberries and stir over low heat until it begins to thicken.
Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough, and using a pizza wheel, cut into 3X3 inch squares. Pour strawberry sauce on one side, and fold over and pinch to keep the filling in. Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. To keep these soft, store in a zip top bag or air proof container.