Crumb-Topped Georgia Pecan and Cherry Cereal Bars

  • Makes twelve 3- by 2-inch bars
  • Georgia Pecan Commission

In these healthy breakfast bars, oats and puffed rice are combined with crunchy pecans to make an easy press-in dough that works double duty as the cookie-like bottom and the crumbly top. In between, a layer of sugarless cherry fruit spread adds fresh flavor and color. Other fruit spreads, such as raspberry or blueberry, can be easily substituted.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup puffed rice cereal (preferably brown rice)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10-ounce jar cherry fruit spread

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch-square baking pan. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, oats, puffed rice, pecans, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil, sugar, and vanilla until blended and creamy. Add the dry ingredients and mix until moistened and a crumbly dough forms. Reserve 1-1/2 cups of the dough for the topping. Press remaining dough evenly into bottom of pan.

3. Spread cherry fruit spread evenly over dough in pan. Sprinkle the reserved dough mixture over top leaving some random spaces where the fruit is uncovered. Gently press down to adhere topping to fruit layer. Bake 30 minutes, or until deep golden color. When cooled to warm, slice into twelve 3- by 2-inch bars.

Nutrition information per bar: protein 3g; carbohydrates: 22g; saturated fat: 3g; monounsaturated fat: 6g; polyunsaturated fat: 2g; cholesterol 10mg; sodium: 132 mg; fiber: 2g; calories: 216.

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