I’m always experimenting with different recipes for granola-type bars. The boys are often in a rush first thing in the morning (and Charlie takes packed lunches three days a week), and while they’re not babies, so they can make their own decisions about the amount of crap they eat, I still like to think I can encourage them in the right direction.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know my feelings on ‘wellbeing experts’ peddling things like ‘chia seed, date and butternut squash raw brownies’ or whatever they’re called, and calling them healthy when they contain 15 tablespoons of maple syrup and 400g dates! They might be natural, but stuff like dates and maple syrup are still full of sugar.
This recipe uses good ol’ sugar and syrup – I think possibly a bit too much – it was adapted from a very old Rachel Allen one I’d scribbled down from when she was on the telly back in Ireland years ago, and I do think they’re a bit too sweet. I’ll carry on slightly reducing the sugar in these every time I cook them and come back to you with how I get on. For little pops of colour and sweetness, cranberries are great. Let’s be honest, these bars contain something along the lines of 24g sugar per portion , so I’m not going to say they’re ‘healthy’, but there’s all sorts of great stuff in there too, and fantastic for grabbing if you’re in a rush. I’d rather they ate something home made than buying a chocolate bar on their journey.
Of course I don’t really have anything against chia seeds either really – they have lots of fibre and minerals, but sunflower seeds are great for you too, and they’re less than a third of the price! Basically use whatever seeds you fancy.
Cranberry, peanut butter and coconut bars
200g golden syrup or honey
150g soft brown sugar
100g peanut butter
350g porridge oats (whizzed in a food processor)
50g sunflower seeds
50g pumpkin seeds
50g dessiccated coconut
Melt the butter, syrup, sugar and peanut butter on a low heat until everything’s melted and the sugar isn’t grainy any more.
I used jumbo oats, which can sometimes be a bit much in this kind of recipe, so I give them a quick whizz in the food processor (this, by the way, is the food processor of my dreams) just to break some of them up a little. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, making sure everything is well combined, then press into a flattish tin, lined with baking paper. I think I could have used a wider, shallower tin and maybe got more portions out of it too.
Bake at 160 degrees, gas – for about 25 to 30 minutes (it will seem quite soft until it’s cooled). Cool completely before cutting into 16 portions. They’ll last a good few days in an airtight container (like one of these Mary Berry tins).
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