Fruit and nut granola bars
I’m not a morning person – my boyfriend can testify to that. The poor soul has to listen to my two alarm clocks (yes, two) beep away intermittently for a good 30 minutes before I even open an eyelid.
So not surprisingly, I’m not a breakfast person either. I can easily go to lunchtime before a morsel crosses my lips, then the hunger kicks in and I end up eating a HUGE lumberjack sized lunch. As I get older and wiser though, I realise that skipping breakfast isn’t a great idea so I’ve been trying to find ways of incorporating fairly nutritious foods that aren’t too elaborate and unobtrusive into my morning routine.
This is where the granola bars come in – they pack a decent punch, are filled with lots of lovely oats, nuts and raisins but are still fairly small and can be munched on without too much fuss while I’m working away at my desk. The sweetness from the honey and vanilla almost tricks you into thinking its a biscuit or cake. Sneeky little buggers…
6 cups rolled oats (porridge oats but not the quick cook kind)
1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or other nut of your choosing)
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup runny honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 190˚C. MIx the oil and salt in with the oats then spread the oats over a couple of baking trays in a thin even layer. Bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the oats start to go a lovely golden colour. Remove the oats and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Turn your oven down to 170˚C. Mix in the fruit and nuts to the oats mixture. In a small pot, melt the sugar, honey and vanilla extract together, stirring until all of the lumps have dissolved.
Carefully pour the liquid into the oats and stir well making sure that all of the oats are coated. Take a large flat baking tray and line it with parchment or baking paper to stop the mixture from sticking. Using the back of a spoon, press the mixture down into the tray in a flat even layer, making sure it is tightly packed down. I found it helpful to wet my hands and press the mixture down with my palms to get it smooth and even. Place the baking tray in your preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes cooling the bars oats will have firmed up a bit but still be soft enough to cut into bars. If you leave it any longer than 10 minutes, the mixture will harden and you wont be able to cut them up easily. I started cutting my bars using a large kitchen knife but after a bit of trial and error I found that a pizza cutter worked best.
Makes approximately 20 bars.