On-the-Run Breakfast Bars

The Recipe: Low-sugar oat bars studded with bacon and cheese, the Kellogg rendition of an old-old recipe from Quaker Oats called "Breakfast Takealongs".

Are you here to learn about the old Finnish custom of planting grass in plates and bowls during Lent? That's story's been moved, please see Lenten Grass, it's such a good way to mark the season of Lent with children.

On-the-Run Breakfast Bars ♥ KitchenParade.com, low-sugar oat bars studded with bacon and cheddar cheese, our family take-off on an old recipe from Quaker Oats called Breakfast Take Alongs

Has anyone checked out the energy bar shelves at the grocery store? Whoa, they go on and on and on! And don't even talk to me about energy drinks. All this energy and we're still couch potatoes?

Breakfast Bars were my mom's answer to energy bars back when I was in high school – maybe before. They're simple oat bars, studded with bacon bits and grated cheese. I remember loving these bars and when my family published a family cookback with family recipes way back in 2002, Breakfast Bars were one of my contributions.

RECIPE HISTORY Since then, I've learned that what we call Breakfast Bars are likely our rendition of a recipe from Quaker Oats called "Breakfast Take-Alongs," no doubt my mom herself got the recipe off the tub of oatmeal.

That original Quaker recipe called for 2/3 cup margarine (don't judge, remember the times, margarine was then thought to be "more healthful" than butter) and 2/3 cup sugar and 3/4 cup of regular flour and 6 slices bacon. The dough was baked in drop cookies in "rounded teaspoons" (doesn't that sound teensy-weensy???) and baked at 350F for 12 - 14 minutes.

Along the way, my mom switched the recipe to whole wheat flour (and a full cup) and switched from slightly fussy cookies to easy-peasy bars.

And then back in 2007, I "Alanna-sized" recipe, cutting back the butter and sugar and bacon.

That was the good news.

I also, weird, doubled the oats.

The bad news is that even though I test (and re-test) every single recipe before publishing it, Kitchen Parade readers had trouble with that 2007 version of the recipe (you'll see that in the comments, below) especially with 3 cups of oats, the doubled amount.

Since then, I've baked these a few times with the recipe shown here (and just 1-1/2 cups oats) and they bake up wonderfully. So give Breakfast Bars a try! You just might discover a new family decades-long favorite!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to finish: about 45 minutes
Makes 1 8x8 or 9x9 pan, about 16 small bars
  • ½ cup (1 stick, 114g) salted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour, preferably whole wheat, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125g
  • ¼ cup wheat germ or ground flax seed
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 1-1/2 cups (135g) oatmeal (regular or quick, but not instant)
  • 1 cup (114g) grated cheddar cheese (can be doubled for extra cheesiness)
  • 3 strips (30g) cooked bacon, crumbled (can be doubled for extra bacon-y-ness
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit, optional (snipped dried apricots are especially good)

Heat the oven to 350F/180C. Spray an 8x8 or 9x9 baking sheet with baking spray. If you like, for easy removal, line the pan with parchment that hangs over the sides, clamping the sides with metal clips, and spray the parchment as well.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well, letting the mixer run on low speed for a minute. With the mixer on low, blend in the flour, wheat germ or flax, baking soda and salt until combined but do not overmix.

Clean off the beaters, then use a wooden spoon to blend in the oatmeal, cheese, bacon and dried fruit if using.

Gently pat the thick dough into the pan without packing it too tight and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, the top should be slightly golden and firm (but not hard) to the touch in the center. They'll also smell great!

Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm; lift out with the parchment first if using parchment.

Be sure to store Breakfast Bars in the fridge since they contain both meat and cheese.

ALANNA's TIPS Here's how I cook the bacon, extra crispy! It's Baked Bacon. Could you bake these in a 9x13 pan for something thinner, more akin to the thickness of a commercial breakfast bar? I think so, yes, in fact that's how I once made them too. But the baking time will be shorter, I'd start checking at 10 minutes.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Bar, assumes 16: 152 Calories; 9g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 37mg Cholesterol; 204mg Sodium; 13g Carb; 1g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 4 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 6

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Those breakfast bars look great! They would be the perfect thing to send along with my husband, as he's out on the road quite a lot.
These look a little bit like the breakfast cookies I make, but even "healthier." They'll be perfect for our long travel day when we go camping!
OH OH OH!!! Those are those Breakfast Take-alongs I was just talking about!! The recipe was in that little recipe pamphlet from Quaker Oatmeal (that I divorced) and I just love these things. They are addicting! Thank you SO MUCH for posting this recipe Alanna.
S'kat ~ That would be perfect! I think of them for after-school too.

Cyndi ~ 'Healthier' of course as in a commercial breakfast bar.

Sally ~ So pleased you're so pleased! And the first time I remember making them was in Iowa where you love, so maybe they made the rounds there! Wouldn't it be funny if we could trace the recipe?!
These look perfect for those days where we are running late and the kids need to eat their breakfast in the car!
Hello, Alanna!

I've never made savory bars and these look yummy - all the ingredients are great!

I'm glad you left a comment on my blog, so now I've found yours - thank you!
I just made these bars and I'm not sure yet how I feel about them. Though I like the unusual blend of ingredients I'm not sure if I like the bars. Straight out of the oven they didn't impress me as being overly flavorful though the texture was nice. Maybe they will be better after they spend some time in the fridge. Regardless, I'm having a really fun time trying recipes from your site.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna