The Bear travels a lot and often has to get up early (really early, like 3 am) to get a flight somewhere. He needs his breakfast, but with the best will in the world, it takes a bit of stamina to have porridge before dawn… or to transport porridge to eat later while he waits in an airport.
We tried buying those cereal bars, thinking they would do the trick – packed full of nuts and seeds and fruit…. and, as I realised when I looked at the labels, packed full of unwanted sugars and fats. Surely it couldn’t be that difficult to make them? OK, so they wouldn’t be wrapped as nicely but that’s why we buy cling film!
I worked at trying to make something tasty and healthy and I did sort out a recipe, writing down the quantities and being oh-so-specific… and then I changed it. It’s going to be much easier to show you by taking photographs of each step.
If you want to do what I am doing… get the ingredients below. If you don’t like a particular ingredient in the second section get another. The important thing is that the consistency must be right before you put it in the oven, though I have to say this is a pretty good mixture….
2 large eggs, wholemeal self raising flour, porridge oats, golden granulated sugar, and then, what amounts to a smash and grab on the dried fruits and nuts shelves……
sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chopped mixed nuts, pistachio nuts, sultanas (I’ll use two kinds – green and golden – but that is because I have them and I like them), dried cranberries, goji berries, dessicated coconut, raw coconut, if I have any I will put in dried blueberries and cherries… and then, what might seem to be an odd choice, a jar of Bramley apple sauce. You can buy it in supermarkets.
I know… I always make everything as much as possible from scratch. The thing is, these Bear Bars are incredibly quick to knock together and I always have the dried ingredients and I always have eggs.. the thing that might not be around is apple. I can square this with my conscience by knowing if I have a jar of it in the larder, the Bear is never more than an hour away from a healthy snack.
I will do this in a glass bowl so it is easier to see what I am doing. I tried to measure it out once but what a palaver it is…. I have always made this by eye and I think that is the way to do it, so watch, copy and make!
Get a your ingredients together. Get a large bowl and a spoon.
You’ll need what I would call flapjack tins… either line them with greaseproof paper or put a silicone sheet in.
A couple of handfuls of porridge oats… and a shake over of wholemeal self raising flour( I suppose the amount would be a scoop… maybe half a cup?) …add a pinch of salt to round out the flavour (even when making sweet things, a touch of salt just brings the flavours together. Look at the back of breakfast cereal packets – they have huge amounts of salt in them! At least here you are sticking to a minimal amount)
***If you want to make these gluten free, do as I have done for my coeliac friends and replace the flour with ground almonds and some gluten free white bread flour with some baking powder… it still tastes marvellous. In fact people don’t notice any major difference…. because this isn’t a specific quantity/ingredient recipe any minor differences would be attributed to that***
Right now you start adding the goodies! A handful or so of sultanas… two handfuls if you are using different kinds.
A good handful of unsalted pistachio nuts, what a beautiful colour they are and they taste so lovely…. and then a bigger handful of chopped mixed nuts (they are cheaper so that’s why I use more of them)
Sunflower and pumpkin seeds next….
Goji berries (because the health food store, Julian Graves were selling them and I thought I’d try them. They are incredible antioxidants, apparently… but they are also nice to eat and so pretty in the bar! (Part of the enjoyment of these bars is that when you slice them you see the incredibly beautiful mix of colours of the seeds and berries and fruits)
Dessicated coconut next – this keeps moisture in the bars and adds a lovely sweetness. I’d give it a good two scoops or so…. or shake it so it makes a good layer, like this….
Raw flaked coconut is gorgeous so if you can get some add that too
If you have other fruits, add them now – dried and sweetened cranberries are gorgeous…. as are blueberries and dried cherries….
Now, if you look at the bowl you will see all the lovely layers of fruits and nuts……… that’s why I haven’t said quantities…… I just shake things in to make thin layers…..
Add a scoop or so of sugar.. you don’t need much because you have added all that fruit. Sometimes I don’t bother. Now stir everything together. The flour and the porridge oats will coat the fruit and help it all mix together before you add the wet ingredients. You want all the fruits and nuts and seeds to be evenly spread throughout.
Now, roughly whisk 2 large eggs together and pour into the mix….
Add the jar of apple sauce and then start to stir
You will end up with a rather solid mix but it will be wet and spreadable. If you want, give the mix a taste… is it sweet enough for you? You can add more sugar, especially if you have children who like things sweeter. I might add some agave nectar if I think it needs extra sweeteners as it is healthier alternative to sugar.
Put the oven on to heat at 160 degrees C
Now, start to get that thick, yet spreadable mix, into the lined flapjack tins…..
Spread it smooth so it cooks evenly
And into the oven for maybe half an hour or so. This does depend on the amount of sugar you have in there as that will brown more quickly, so keep your eyes on it.
When it is a good golden colour all over and feels springy to the touch, get it out and leave it to cool.
Then cut it into slices … you can freeze them (but make sure you wrap them separately so they are easy to separate) and then you will have a ready supply of healthy bars to give to the ones you love.
That’s better for you than one of those bought cereal bars, isn’t it?
And just perfect for when your sister in law visits and you can give her some with her coffee!
Share on Facebook