I’ve been making these breakfast bars for a couple of weeks now, and am pretty darned pleased with how they have been working out for me. They are quick and easy to make, full of good stuff and taste fab. They also last me through to lunch, and i can eat them on the go when I’m rushing out the flat in the morning.
Shown above; apricot and almond, with flaked coconut and flax seed.
The basic mix is 100g dried fruit (apricots, dates, raisins, cranberries etc) made into a sticky jam, mixed with about 180g of dry ingredients (coconut flakes (unsweetened), oats, pumpkin seeds, ground almonds, flax seeds, pecans, walnuts etc). It’s a very flexible recipe, which allows for substitutions depending on what you have available, or allergies/intolerances.
These are mostly made of fruit, grains, nuts and seeds, and can be made with no added sugar, salt or fat. Without honey, it is vegan friendly. The bars use ingredients that keep well and can be stored in the cupboard until needed, so you can make small batches as and when you want to.
Since there is no salt or added preservatives, I tend to make small batches and keep them in the fridge.
Step 1, soak about 100g of dried fruit (dates, apricots, raisins and cranberries work well) in water for a couple of hours. This will make up the sticky jam to hold everything together.
2. After a couple of hours, drain off excess fluid (keep just in case you need to add some moisture to the mix, but I have yet to use it). Blend the fruit till it makes a thick paste. This can be done with a hand blender or food processor, or, lacking these, cut the fruit up as fine as you can manage before and after soaking, then mash with a fork.
If you want to add a little honey/ maple syrup/agave syrup, or spices like cinnamon, add it in at this point. I’ve found that the dried fruit has enough sugar that extra isn’t really needed, but it does hold together slightly better. Apricots and cranberries can be tart, so might either need a little something to make the mix taste better (I’ve found a cocoa based recipe works well with the cranberries.)
3. Blend about 180g worth of dry ingredients in a food processor, hand blender or, as I do, a spice grinder (the smaller the pieces, the better the mixture sticks together, but some lumpy bits are good for added texture). I use a standard 1/3 oats, 1/3 coconut flakes and a 1/3 pumpkin seeds, which works well. You can get some of these ingredients already blended (watch out for added sugar in desiccated coconut), but its cheaper to blitz them yourself. Since the recipe is very forgiving, you will be fine to miss out ingredients you don’t like/can’t have and substitute with those you can.
You could also blitz a large batch of the dry ingredients, since it will keep and cut down in the perpetration time for your next batch. I keep mine in a ziplock baggie.
4. Mix together. Resulting mixture should come away from the sides of the bowl, and not be too sticky. Add more dry ingredients if needed. If it doesn’t seem to be coming together, keep mixing, as it can take a bit of mixing to start to blend and you’ll want to minimise the moisture for sake of the bars holding together.
5. Put a piece of parchment paper into a takeaway container or Tupperware (this way you have a lid to keep it fresher for longer, and they are good sizes for the bars). Pour mixture in, and press down firmly.
6 (optional) decorate. If you have fancy ingredients, like coco-nibs, flaked almonds, toasted coconut, cherries etc, you can stick them on top.
7. Stick in fridge. After an hour or so, you can slice into bars (4 or 5, depending on your container and how hungry you get at breakfast).
And there you have it, healthy breakfast bars, easy to make, and really quite tasty.
The bars shown in the photo are Apricot/almond – 100g apricot, 50g oats, 50g pumpkin seeds, 50g coconut, 20g ground almonds (I would use blended flaked almonds for a better texture if I was making these again, as the ground almonds were just a bit too fine). I added flax seeds, chunks of apricot and flaked almonds on top.
How they compare to other breakfast bars:
One bar (apricot and almond), recipe made as above and cut into 4 pieces, each piece is one bar – approx 262 cal, 9.4g sugar. no salt.
Costa granola bar: 320 cal, 28g sugar
I’m going to continue to post my successful flavour combos, so watch this space. Also, if you come up with your own tasty bars I’d love to hear from you.