There’s something so handy about a cereal or granola bar, the can fit into so many situations – breakfast on the run, a quick pre-lunch snack, a picnic staple, or a post-workout refuel. As people are heading back into offices, these could be the perfect accompaniment to a sandwich in a packed lunch.
When I used to go into an office regularly I always felt super pleased if I had a homemade packed lunch addition, rather than an additive filled less superior shop bought bar; hopefully these will make you just as pleased too 😊
This recipe is loosely based upon Yotam Ottolenghi’s Granola Bar recipe form the original ‘The Cookbook’, so you know they have good pedigree, and they have to taste delicious.
Tropical Granola Bars
(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan, can be gluten-free if use gluten-free oats)
Makes 8 large bars
22g dried cranberries or sultanas
22g dried mango, chopped
22g dried pineapple, chopped
22g sunflower seeds
15g desiccated coconut
50g dairy-free margarine
50g golden syrup or honey
50g demerara sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
Place the dried fruits into a bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soften for ten minutes. Then drain.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Centigrade
Line a 2lb loaf tin with parchment
In a bowl, mix together the oats, sunflower seeds, drained dried fruit and coconut and set aside.
In a large saucepan melt together the margarine, syrup and sugar until the sugar has totally dissolved.
Fold in the oat and fruit mixture, adding the salt and cinnamon. Make sure the mixture is well combined.
Tip the mixture into the lined loaf tin, press down and level off.
Bake for 22 minutes until starting to turn golden around the edges.
Remove from the tin and cool completely before cutting into bars.
These bars keep well for up to a week if placed in an airtight container.
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)
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.