I’ve never been one to start my mornings with a bowl of cereal… largely because my favorite kinds, such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, tend to be lower in healthful nutrients like protein and fiber and higher in added sugars. Naturally, these aren’t the greatest options to set anyone’s day up for success—and by that I mean to promote sustained energy, maintain steady blood sugar levels, and so on.
With that said, you can imagine how amped I was to see a protein-packed, gluten-free, vegan dupe for my favorite cereal—in blondie form, no less (!!!)—by recipe developer @wholewithbeth.
Why these cinnamon toast crunch blondies are healthy *and* breakfast-friendly
There are a few star ingredients in this blondie recipe that make it more nutrient-dense than the cereal and suitable for breakfast (or for a midday pick-me-up, or for a post-dinner dessert… i.e., any time really). The first is chickpea flour, which LA–based dietitian Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN, says “is high in protein and fiber and more nutritious than traditional refined flour.” She adds that while chickpea flour is the main source of protein in this recipe, the cashew butter and the alt milk of your choice will also add a few grams of protein to the batter (especially if you choose soy or another pea-based milk). But why is it so important to have protein at breakfast, anyway?
“One of the main benefits of getting enough protein at breakfast is that it can help keep your hormones and blood sugar balanced,” Vaca-Flores says. “As such, a high-protein breakfast can help prevent sugar crashes and mood fluctuations throughout the day—not to mention help you boost your energy levels and build lean muscle mass.” (When possible, she suggests aiming for 15 to 25 grams of protein for your morning meal.)
Next, the benefits of using flax eggs go beyond making this recipe vegan-friendly. “The main perk of using flax eggs is that they provide two grams of fiber each. Plus, they can boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids,” Vaca-Flores continues. She also notes that flax eggs are easy to sub into other recipes that call for conventional eggs given their one to one ratio. Last but not least, this recipe calls for coconut sugar for sweetness. “Coconut sugar provides nutrients such as prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, and minerals like calcium and iron that are lost in white or brown sugar,” Vaca-Flores says. However, the dietitian adds that coconut sugar is still sugar, so it’s not considered a health food in the nutrition community.
All things considered, these cinnamon toast crunch blondies are still a more nutritious option than the original cereal, as well as most baked goodies you might prefer for breakfast. “This recipe is higher in protein and fiber than these alternatives, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for something tasty and familiar that also has a number of important health benefits to offer,” Vaca-Flores concludes.
How to nail this healthy cinnamon blondie recipe
I know, I know… by now, you must be itching to whip up these crunchy cinnamon blondies. But first, a few nutrition-minded tips and FYIs:
- Again, while coconut sugar may be a healthier substitute for conventional sugar sources, you’ll still want to be mindful of your intake.
- To keep the sugar content as low as possible, opt for unsweetened alt milk.
- This recipe calls for Grain-Free Snickerdoodle Cookies from Hu Kitchen (an organic snack brand tested and approved by the Well+Good team). While the recipe developer mentions you can sub in graham crackers or cinnamon-flavored cookies of your choice, just keep in mind that doing so may add gluten, high fructose corn syrup, and/or other additives to the mix.
Protein Cinnamon Toast Crunch Blondie Recipe
2 flax eggs
1/4 cup cashew butter
1/4 cup milk of choice
1/3 cup vegan butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup Hu Kitchen Snickerdoodle Cookies, crushed (sub graham crackers or cinnamon-flavored cookies of choice)
Cinnamon sugar topping:
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix flax eggs, cashew butter, milk, vegan butter, and vanilla extract together.
3. Mix in chickpea flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt. Fold in crushed cookies.
4. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 14 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar if desired and enjoy!