Breakfast-to-Go: Vegan Blueberry Oat Bars

by Gena on June 14, 2011

Thanks for your suggestions on calorie and nutrient dense breakfasts, everyone! I appreciate it, and your enthusiasm for my superfoods breakfast bowl. Since we’re all on the topic of breakfast, I thought I’d share my latest baking endeavor with you: blueberry oat bars that are 100% vegan, relatively low in fat for baked goods, and terribly delicious.

These guys happened on the spur of the moment. I woke up on Sunday with my current breakfast dilemma in mind, and wondered if I couldn’t come up with something baked that would nevertheless be (along with some fruit and coffee) a filling morning treat. I rarely eat baked goods in the morning, not because I dislike them, but because they simply offer my little satiety. No matter what, even the heartiest of muffins or cakes need to be paired with fruit or something else (sometimes a smoothie) to fill me up, but there are degrees of success, and my goal with these bars was to make something a little chewier and more satisfying that a airy little muffin.

I think I got it right: these bars are chewy, sweet, and have a substantial feel. They’re also very healthy, full of banana, oats, and held together with coconut oil and some agave. The coup de grace, for me, is the blueberry topping, which is nothing but your favorite, all-natural blueberry jam or spread, and then some crumble on top. I like Dalfour, Crofter’s, and Cascadian Farms preserves, but anyone who is intrepid enough to make his or her own should certainly use that!

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Vegan Blueberry Oat Bars (vegan, can be GF, soy free)

Makes 10 bars or so

For the bar itself:

2 cups oat flour (you can make this by throwing 2 cups of oats in a food processor and giving it a whirl; ditto for a VitaMix)
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp agave nectar
1 large banana, ripe
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla

For the topping:

1/3 cup blueberry preserves (more if needed)
2 tbsp cold coconut oil (solid)
3 tbsp rolled oats
3 tbsp natural sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Mix the oat flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a food processor or VitaMix (or with a hand blender), mix the banana, oil, agave, almond milk, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix well.

3) Spread the mixture into a square baking pan (8 x 8 or 9 X 9 is good) and top with the preserves. In the food processor, pulse the shortening, oats, and sugar into a topping, and dot the blueberry mix with it.

4) Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 or 35 minutes, or until the top is golden. Set out for a while to let the piping hot preserves cool and solidify.

I really wasn’t intending for these to be special, but M claimed they were the best bars I’ve ever made. I have to agree: the banana and coconut are irresistible, and the texture is great. I plan on making them often, possibly with other sorts of fruit preserves!

Give them a try, and let me know what you think! GF peeps, go ahead and use certified GF rolled oats here—the results will be just as good!

Before I go, I wanted to mention a beverage review. The folks at Tazo teas sent me some of their new, stevia-sweetened iced chai tea to sample last week, in a very cute little bag:

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The tea is essentially a lower sugar spin on the original, but sweetened without aspartame (a huge plus!):

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Alas, the perpetual problem with stevia is its bitter aftertaste (and the fact that it’s hard to actually control how sweet things get when you use it). And this tea, I think, is a victim of those issues: it was super sweet to me (granted, I rarely sweeten beverages, but my lips puckered) and I did taste the stevia bitterness after. I love the idea of a product that’s thinking in terms of a more natural sweetener, so I hope that the company refines the product a little for a more mild sweetness!

The nuts they sent along with it, though, were divine:

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Thanks to the folks at Tazo, and sorry I wasn’t more blown away – I will definitely taste again if the stevia content is a little more modest!

And with that, it’s time for coffee with the lab partner, some school related stuff, and dinner with a former client. Night y’all!

xo

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga June 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I used to be overwhelmed by stevia and sweetness and the aftertaste and all of that…but things have changed with my tastebuds, apparently, since I use stevia like it’s going outta style :) And I have that Tazo tote bag…very handy!

The blueberry oat bars..nice! I have blueberry muffins that are almost identical to yours that I make…just banana, oats, oat flour, a little baking soda, vanilla, stir in the bloobs, and bake. One bowl and I stir them by hand. So easy.

But I am even more partial to all my microwave banana oat cake combos Ive been making that I told you about in the last post (Even though you don’t have a microwave…whoops, my bad!)

I need to try your bars..they look amazing! :)

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Christina June 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Those bars look absolutely divine!! I love that the ingredient list isn’t a laundry list of stuff, I’ll definitely have to try them out.

The Tazo bag is super cute but I appreciate that you were honest in your review. Not everyone is like that :)

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sarah June 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm

could you substitute coconut oil for the veggie shortening/earth balance in the topping? Looks great!

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Gena June 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I’m not sure, Sarah, but I think it would work.

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Ali June 14, 2011 at 11:52 pm

I have used coconut oil in recipes similar to this and it seems to work fine, sometimes the mouthfeel (ugh, I hate that word, but can’t think of a better one right now!) is a little greasy for my taste.

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Victoria (District Chocoholic) June 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Terribly delicious is right…not fair for this to go up when I am stuck at my office and can’t make them…

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lightlygildedlily June 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I just fired up my oven. Making them NOW

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VeggieGirl June 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Great bar recipe! Perfect for an on-the-go dance practice treat :) And thanks for the heads up on Tazo!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table June 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I love the gluten-free option. I’m having a picnic with a gluten-free friend and was wondering what to bring for a treat! Thanks!

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Emilia @ Namaste Gurl June 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Just another wonderful baking concoction done by you! Way to go; these look delicious and super wholesome! Next time I have a ripe banana and some free time, I’ll know what i’ll be doing ;-)

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Christine (The Raw Project) June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Thanks Gena, these bars look wonderful! I adore blueberry and might need to get back into baking for these. :-)

Interesting on the tea, stevia has grown a lot on me, some brands of liquid stevia are less bitter than others, like NuNaturals and the Whole Foods brand.

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Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free June 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I love oat bars! So yummy and easy :D I like the blueberry Idea, though…must try!

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Tamar June 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm

The bars look amazing!

I find liquid stevia (specifically SweetLeaf brand) to be much less bitter than the powder.

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Amanda June 14, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Yummy looking Blueberry Oat Bars! I would love to make this using a fig paste/jam! I’m on a fig kick these days :-)

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The Delicate Place June 14, 2011 at 6:32 pm

ah! blueberries are my favorite and paired with coconut i think these are gonna be outstanding! can you taste the banana? i really hate the smell and texture ( i can only stand them frozen and blended in a well disguised smoothie ;p)

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Ela June 14, 2011 at 6:49 pm

That sounds like a great recipe! I parse them when I read them and get an idea of how they’ll be: sounds like great texture and taste. I may have to make some for Phil.

I love stevia, but I think my tastebuds are quite eccentric. I truly don’t mind the slightly bitter aftertaste. That is a cute bag it came with!
love
Ela

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Jen June 14, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I love Tazo’s nuts. They sell them at Starbucks, and I’m always tempted to buy a bag. Speaking of Starbucks, your breakfast bars look a lot healthier (and tastier) than any of the bars they sell! I rarely make bars, and I don’t know why, because I love them! They’re thicker than granola bars and denser than muffins. What could be better?

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Gena June 15, 2011 at 8:27 am

Yeah, I’m a sucker for a dense, chewy texture, so these bars suit me really well. Glad you like!

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Kaitlyn June 14, 2011 at 7:58 pm

The bars look awesome! I just found out I have a class every Wednesday at 8 which seriously infringes upon my “lounge during breakfast after I get back from the gym” time. These could be a nice on-the-go for me!!

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Gena June 15, 2011 at 8:26 am

That time is precious indeed, and I miss it, too.

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FoodFeud June 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm

The bars look great. Just yesterday I made Happy Herbivore’s fat free blueberry muffins and they’re pretty good but coconut oil sounds damn tasty too…

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bitt June 14, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I have that same bag! We could be lunch box twins. it’s perfect for travel, nice and light. tazo also gave me some coupons for their new drink but I couldn’t find it anywhere and the coupons expired. I contacted the company and they never got back to me. Needless to say I’m kinda pissed and think they shouldn’t offer coupons for products that aren’t available in at least a major city like I’m in. Perhaps one of their reps with read this and finally get back to me about my request. Sorry to use your blog as a platform to reach them, but I am concerned if you have a giveaway with them the same thing will happen to the winner.

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Christine June 14, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Ooh, these look great. I’ve been baking something every other day this winter (Australia) so I’ll definitely try these!

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Mama Pea June 14, 2011 at 10:21 pm

The girls are going to love these!!!

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Alejandra @ mouthfulsandmorsels.wordpress.com June 14, 2011 at 10:48 pm

love that the ingredient list is simple, cannot wait to make these. They definitely look like the perfect girl-on-the-go snack!

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Serena June 15, 2011 at 12:20 am

These look really delicious. I used to love the “fruit bar” that was sold at Peet’s Coffee (but is no longer) and I’ve been trying to re-create it (in my head) for the longest time, now. This is giving me inspiration to actually try and recreate it in the kitch. ;)

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Hannah June 15, 2011 at 6:05 am

These look wonderful, Gena! I’ve been eaten instant oats (made slightly less awful with chia seeds) as snacks at work for the past few weeks, and know that these will make the afternoon slump far happier for me!

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Beth June 15, 2011 at 6:31 am

I dont have any bb preserve, I am wondering if thawed frozen berries, sweetened a tad, would be too mushy?? This recipe looks fantastic and vry low in sugr so I shall try it out on my kids! Also, I just discovred the joy of baking with nut butters thanks to heathereatsalmondbutter.com. Made some HEAVENLY cashew nut butter and maple flapjcks (britspeak for granola bars) on my blog recently; the nut butter sets so hard you can just refridgerate them and eat raw. Or you can bake it, which I did, because the familia prefers it that way :)

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Gena June 15, 2011 at 8:25 am

Yeah, it’ll be too watery. But you can reduce the blueberries with a tablespoon of sugar and some arrowroot or cornstarch, if you’re so inclined, and then use them!

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lani June 15, 2011 at 6:38 am

is there something I could use other than coconut oil? I am not using any oils and coconut oil is really not healthy..

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Gena June 15, 2011 at 8:24 am

Of course I disagree, or I wouldn’t use coconut oil in any recipes. I think that some source of fat is really crucial here, so you could try a nut butter. If you want to go the no-fat route, experiment with applesauce, though I can’t vouch for the results!

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Whitney June 15, 2011 at 6:43 am

Those look so amazing! I need to stop reading these posts at work – they make me hungry. :) Thanks for always keeping fresh ideas coming – everything I try of yours is fantastic and keeps my tastebuds interested!

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Kelsey June 15, 2011 at 9:29 am

YUM! Love this recipe!!!

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Desi@ThePalatePeacemaker June 15, 2011 at 9:42 am

These look so yummy, Gena! I love, love, LOVE coconut oil, by the way. I’m currently on an anti-candida diet, which has forced me to open up to new foods. Enter my discovery of coconut butter. Which I eat out of the jar with a spoon. I am obsessed with all things coconut. :) Can’t wait to try these when I can eat normally again! Thanks!
xo

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Mountain Girl (Eat Hike Sleep Repeat) June 15, 2011 at 9:58 am

Delicious and even better that they are simple to make. Going to try to these, perhaps with the addition of a little coconut flour, and of course, a bit of chocolate!

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Brittany June 15, 2011 at 10:26 am

I keep telling myself to stop baking stop baking!! But Gena… this is too tempting!! I’m justifying it though; this seems too healthy and delicious to pass up!

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Kendall June 15, 2011 at 11:20 am

These look so delish! I have a question about baking with coconut oil- do you use the refined kind or the extra virgin? I can never seem figure that out :( Thanks!

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Skye June 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm

These look amazing! Do you think it would work if I use coconut butter instead of the margarine/shortening on top? I have some I’m dying to use, and I can’t stand Earth Balance (I do have some Spectrum shortening if coconut butter won’t work). So how long did these keep you full- were they a satiating breakfast or better as a snack?

I seriously can’t wait to try these. Thanks! :)

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Sarah B. June 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Oh wow, I just made these! Yummy! The bar part turned out way lighter and cakier than I expected, but the texture is super. Instead of blueberry preserves, I used apricot (reduced sugar from trader joe’s), and probably twice the amount you used? And then in the crumble I used walnuts instead of more oats. And butter instead of earth balance. Not vegan, what can I say. =) I almost ate all the crumble out of the food processor instead of putting it on the bars. Probably I should bake them a bit longer next time, but they smelled so good I couldn’t wait….. thanks for the nice recipe, that’s my first (almost) vegan baking!

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Ricki June 15, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Those bars look heavenly! A great combination of ingredients that I bet is just perfect for breakfast or a snack. (And hope you’ll submit them to this month’s SOS Challenge. . . which happens to feature blueberries!). Too bad about the TAZO tea. . . I wonder if I’d like it anyway, since I’m so used to stevia by now?

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Jenna June 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Those look amazing, can’t wait to try making them!

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Amy June 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I am so excited to see this recipe. I just bought a box of bars that seem similar to this for my son to take for snacks for preschool. I was hoping to find something I could make at home and this looks perfect. I am really happy to hear that Tazo is using stevia to sweeten their tea. My husband and i use stevia every day in our tea. I think that we must be used to the taste because we don’t seem to notice the botterness that a lot of people complain about.

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Sylvia Black June 16, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Those bars look really good! I think they might be perfect for me, because I tend to want something fairly light in the morning, since I’m rarely very hungry til later on. I’m not a huge fan of blueberries though, so maybe I’ll try a strawberry version

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Melinda Claybaugh June 17, 2011 at 8:23 am

These are super tasty! I made them last night with strawberry jam (all I had) and they turned out great. One thing: In Step 2 of your recipe, there’s no mention of adding in the coconut oil with the wet ingredients. Luckily I figured it out in time, as it’s a crucial ingredient. Keep the fruit bar-type recipes coming!

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Gena June 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Thanks for the head’s up, Melinda! I’ll fix that.

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elise June 18, 2011 at 2:07 am

whoa tazo has iced chai with stevia? who knew! i like stevia actually…but certain brands add crap in that i dont like (natural flavors, etc.)
anyway, i love chai and i love tazos hot chai teabags, so im thinking ill check them out.

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Jill Z July 8, 2011 at 7:56 pm

i’m a little late on making this, but i’m waiting for it to cool down right now and LOVING the smells coming from my kitchen! i threw in at least a cup of extra blueberries, plus some ground chia seeds, and the texture seems great. Can’t wait to dig in – thanx for the recipe Gena!

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Gena July 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

Terrific! Let me know how you like them.

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Kiara January 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Is the banana required?

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AR Fans January 27, 2012 at 12:06 am

Made these bars this week. They are so good for breakfast!
Love your recipes, Gena! Use them a lot!!!

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Nada (One Arab Vegan) February 14, 2012 at 10:25 am

Made these last night and they are spectacular – my very much omni roommate agreed! This recipe’s a keeper, can’t wait to try different fruit variations.

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Lisa April 17, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Just wanted to share that I’ve made these three times this late winter/early spring and I adore them — absolutely my favorite bar of this kind I’ve ever made. I’m so appreciative that the flour all comes from the oats — I love to bake and I have a little guy with a sweet tooth (probably takes after his mama) and so I’m always looking for treats with more nutritional heft.

Little changes: I don’t use agave so I’ve made them with both maple and honey — both worked great. Made them once with a couple giant handfuls of frozen blueberries instead of the preserves (I actually found the bars a bit too sweet with the jam plus the topping, so was trying to make them a bit less sweet). I didn’t reduce the frozen berries at all and the bars still came out great.

I really love the texture (somehow dense and chewy without being at all heavy), and the moisture and gentle sweetness from the bananas. I think these would be fantastic with some shredded coconut added, or also with chopped nuts if that’s your thing.

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jess April 19, 2012 at 8:16 am

these were such a hit in our house that i had to tell the world about them! wonderful recipe gena :D

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Ragnhild April 21, 2012 at 7:02 am

Hi Gena :)
I just made these yesterday, and they are WONDERFUL! Sooo good!
I didnt use the agave, and instead added an extra banana- worked out perfectly! I also used fresh blueberries instead of the preserves.
Ill be making these again for sure! Thanks for the recepe :)

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Pollmer May 18, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Looks like a great recipe, can’t wait to try it. However, along with the other two people who’ve asked, do you know if something else can be substituted for the banana? I’m a terrible cook and don’t know anything about substitutions.

Thanks!

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Alix May 23, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Just made these, yum, yum, yum! I used frozen blueberries, I didn’t bother to thaw them, and it worked just fine, the slight tartness of the berries was great. I used coconut sugar in the topping. Like others I’m not a huge fan of cooked banana, so next time will experiment with applesauce or mashed pumpkin.

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Jenn July 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Hi there! We tried a modified version of this recipe, using ingredients we had on hand. Had to skip the coconut, agave and almond. Didn’t use the topping with preserves, so we just mixed in a half pint of raspberries and blueberries. We did add a teaspoon of brown sugar, and used safflower oil in place of the coconut. While the end result smelled and tasted delicious, it was not the texture we anticipated. It turned out more like a flat plate of muffins, rather than a chew granola. Any hints on why it was more cake like instead of granola-like? Too much liquid, or not enough? We’d love to get something a bit crunchier and less like a muffin in texture.

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Patti October 27, 2012 at 10:09 am

These are delicious, I’ve made them a bunch of times. I have swapped out oat flour for almond flour and brown rice (only because I didn’t have enough oats). Still good.
I also, just made these with pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice, Awesome!!!
Thanks for sharing all of your delicious and do -able recipes.

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Jasmin Singer September 2, 2013 at 9:32 am

I am so late to this party, but better late than pregnant! Gena, these are OUTRAGEOUS. I love them wildly and inappropriately. Made them last night for some friends whose house we’re visiting today. But I ate my fair share (and then some) prior to packing it up all pretty-like for them. <3

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