Brunch Bars – the cereal bars of your dreams

Cereal bars seem to be big news. I don’t buy them (it’s rare to find a nut and dairy-free cereal bar) and don’t often venture down the ‘bar’ aisle of the supermarket. I happened to wander down it the other day and was utterly overwhelmed by the amount and variety of bars on offer. They really must be a ‘thing’ for lots of people.

I certainly get the point – a mid-morning snack with a healthy vibe (whether that is true or not is another matter!) must be a good idea. It stuck me that maybe we needed a friendly cereal bar in our lives, one to act as breakfast on the hoof or as an interesting addition to these daily triple packed lunches I seem to be making.

This recipe took a while to evolve, but the wait was worth it, these bars are seriously good. I’ve been eating them all week, and I’m not a cereal bar eater! They combine granola (homemade in this case) for flavour and texture with rice crispies for crunch. This is enrobed in a delicious mix of sugar, syrup and biscoff spread. Nut or seed butter would work wonderfully and give a ‘nutty’ undertone if you can tolerate it. Don’t worry if you don’t have safe granola just sub for oats (ideally toasted) and a handful of dried/freeze-dried fruit of choice. There must be some shop bought dairy-free and nut-free granola available, but I’ve not come across it. Do let me know of any recommendations.

I definitely recommend the chocolate drizzle – not only does it look nice but it also gives a touch of luxury. Besides, chocolate is always a good addition!

Brunch Cereal Bars

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 6 large bars

100g granola

25g rice krispies

60g caster sugar

90g golden or maple syrup, or use honey

50g Biscoff spread (or nut/seed/wow butter of choice)

20g dark dairy-free chocolate

  1. Melt together the sugar, syrup and biscoff spread until you have a thick smooth mixture
  2. Stir in the granola and rice krispies and stir until everything is coated in the rich caramel sauce
  3. Press into a baking tin lined with parchment. I used a 2lb loaf tin which is perfect for the amount quoted about. If you want to make more, double the quantities and use a standard square baking tin.
  4. Place in the fridge or a cool place to set.
  5. Melt the chocolate and drizzle over, leave to set.
  6. Cut into 6 bars.

Granola Bars

Not quite a flapjack, maybe seeming a little more healthy and a fail-safe filling snack. Not so if you avoid dairy, peanuts and sesame… shop bought Granola bars are normally best avoided. Here’s my version, it does contain ground almonds and sunflower seeds as we’re ok with them, but no other nasty surprises…. and they’re rather moreish too! The only problem is that these are a little fragile, not indestructible like a commercial variety, but maybe that’s just a sign of their lack of nasties! This is loosely based on an Ottolenghi recipe.

Granola Bars (dairy-free, egg-free, sesame-free, peanut-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 12 ish bars

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (omit, or use other seeds if want/need to)
  • 3 tbsps ground flax seeds
  • 2/3rds cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds (use flour if sensitive to almonds)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/4 cup syrup/honey
  • 1/4 cup oat milk, such as Oatly

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 4

– Line a rectangular brownie tin with parchment

– Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and let sit for a few minutes.

– Turn the ingredients into the pan and level off, pressing down quite firmly

– Bake for approx. 20 minutes until lightly golden on top.

– It will be soft and puffed up when you remove it from the oven. Press down with a spatula and leave to completely cool in the tin.

– Once cooled, cut into even sized bars.