I’ve been a naughty little blogger. It has been almost a month since my last post. Please forgive me? No? What about if I share my new deliciously yummy (but ridiculously healthy) recipe with you?
Before we begin, I really feel I need to comment on a post that came from my heart ‘When Work Takes Over Your Life…’. I want to thank all those who left really insightful comments, especially as I know that writing down personal criticisms about our own careers (in a world where the most common response is, “Oh yes, work’s going well/ok!”) can actually be quite a scary & frightening thing to do. I read all of them and have only just gotten around to replying to everyone as really wanted to absorb & ponder what had been said. So thank you all for sharing, it meant a lot to me.
Forgiven yet? No?
How about now?
There’s a short story behind these scrummy bars. I knew I had to make them one Friday afternoon when a work colleague saw me, munching on yet another granola bar whilst downing an americano, & said “Gosh, you like your Costa don’t you? Doesn’t it get expensive?”. I was in my own world of heavenly granola goodness (trust me, don’t try the Costa coffee granola bars. They are seriously addictive.) but I soon snapped out of it from the sudden realisation that my ‘occasional’ treat of a coffee & a tray bake had somehow become a daily affair. Accompanied with a big hole in my wallet.
So, I decided to make my own! Partly inspired by Costa’s delights, but also ‘healthified’ as I’m sure the corporation don’t worry about putting lots of added sugar into their goods as that’s probably what makes addicts like me run back to them every morning.
These beauties are packed full of goodies which give a balanced mix of protein, omega-3s, & carbs. I made them nut free as I know it is tempting to add tonnes of chopped nuts to recipes, or to add a jar of nut butter to ‘bind’ but I didn’t really think these needed them (or the added calories).
Not only are these vegan & gluten-free, they also are naturally sweetened by dried fruit & my newest favouritest natural sweetener… Date ‘caramel’ (sounds exotic but it is literally just blended dates & water). They are also flippin’ easy to make.
Ingredients (to make 10 well sized granola bars)
- One & a half cups of gluten free oats
- Half a cup of seeds – I used a seed mix blend of pumpkin, sunflower, golden linseed & sesame seeds
- Half a cup of chia seeds
- Handful of dried cranberries (roughly chopped)
- Handful of sultanas
- Pinch of himalayan salt (or alternative)
- 250g pitted dates
- Boiled water (enough to cover dates – around 1-2 cups)
- 2 tsp of vanilla essence
- 3 tsp of cinnamon (I actually used a bit more because I love heavily spiced goodies!)
I actually couldn’t find any cinnamon so ended up grabbing this pumpkin pie mix:
^^^ It was a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & cloves and made my kitchen smell divine (& my bars taste wonderful)
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees.
Place dates in blender/food processor & just cover with freshly boiled water to soften for a few minutes. Place dry ingredients (& vanilla essence) in mixing bowl. Blitz your water/date mix & add your ‘caramel’ to the other ingredients. Mix until uniform & then place into a lined baking tray (I would have ideally used baking paper but all I had was foil. comme ci comme ca!) – I like my bars lovely and thick so used half the tray and piled up the mixture, but feel free to spread it out thinly if that floats your boat.
Pop in the oven for 25 minutes until nicely browned on the top.
I love these bars as a healthy breakfast or morning/afternoon pick-me-up coupled with a big mug of tea or coffee. They are not as sweet as my old loves from Costa coffee but I bet my bottom dollar that they are probably infinitely healthier.
Look at that hunk of a bar.
I stored half of them in an airtight container and the rest were popped in the freezer to keep them fresh.
I have a feeling they will be making an escape soon though!
Have you ever made your own granola bars? If so, what is your favourite ingredient to add? Anyone else a granola bar addict?
Want more recipes & healthy food inspiration?