The snack trend at the moment seems to be those energy balls, and quite frankly the idea makes me feel a bit squeamish. No idea why as I have no aversion to the ingredients by themselves – but they just don’t appeal. These, however, are right up my street.
Chewy, slightly sweet, slightly salted, crunchy, little hints of fruit, and a bitter chocolate hit in some bites – the fact that they didn’t cook perfectly and weren’t ‘bars’ was forgiven when I tasted them. I wasn’t originally going to blog about them due to their failure of staying together (they worked well as granola!) but I enjoyed it so much I’ve tinkered with the amounts to give you the chance of making bars. Failing that, eat in chunks as big as you can manage. With a couple of napkins to catch the crumbs.
Sidenote: I apologise to the cleaners at work for the state of the carpet by my desk after eating these as an afternoon snack that week. Whoops.
These do contain some ‘trendy’ ingredients but would equally be fine without. Subtittute more dried cranberries (or any other fruit) for the goji berries. Swap in finely chopped dark chocolate for the cocoa nibs (I love these and really need to find a cheaper source!). Use decent nut butter if possible, but I happen to know this works with Sainsbury’s Basics too. Because when it’s a few days before payday spending 3x the amount on peanut butter hurts. The cheaper stuff isn’t horrific, it’s just slightly runny and not the best in terms of ingredients. Tastes good though.
- 150g oats
- 1 handful nuts/seeds – I went for flaked almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and there’s some chopped hazelnuts in there too
- Cocoa nibs, or dark chocolate
- 1 handful of dried fruit – I used goji berries and dried cranberries as they are the only dried fruit I can stomach
- 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 100g honey – I’ve upped this in the recipe to help the bars hold together more
Add the coconut oil, peanut butter and honey to a pan and heat on a low heat until thoroughly melted and combined. It’s based on this recipe here. Add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl and stir – you want all the yummy bits to be evenly dispersed in the oats.
Pour in the liquid mixture and stir – it will look dry at first but keep going until it looks a bit gooey and everything is coated. Tip into a lined tray and press down well with a spoon. Bake at 170C for 25 minutes, score into portions immediately then leave to cool completely.
I’ve enjoyed these as a 4pm snack when I feel my energy levels dropped – it’s when I’d usually head for a cup of tea, but I’ve found these keep me going far more. If only they made for a little more ladylike eating – though the upped honey ratio has definitely improved this!
Another sidenote – all being well I’ll be on a plane as you read this, off to sunny Italy. Posts are scheduled whilst I’m away, but there may be a lack of comment replying and email responses until a few days after I am back. Keep an eye on my Instagram for holiday pics!
Are you a fan of homemade cereal bars, or can you recommend any bought versions? I’ve never found any that are yummy but not full of sugar or artificial ingredients!