This week’s guest blog is a recipe for Granola Bars to keep your healthy eating on track, from Pixie Hall Cakes
First I guess I should wish you all a happy new year! It’s 2014, a new year and a new start. There’s something very comforting in welcoming a new year and leaving behind the old. It’s a real chance to make changes, create goals and take a fresh look at things. I hope you all have a happy and healthy year.
One thing I know about cake is that by January, with the excess of Christmas and the goals to lose weight and eat more healthily, nobody wants to eat it. There’s no point in me posting a recipe for a big, rich chocolate extravaganza because the chances are that you’re just not interested. I’ve been racking my brains to come up with something understated, tasty and with some healthy ingredients. I think I’ve done that with this recipe for Chewy Adaptable Granola Bars. Packed with fruit, oats, seeds, nuts and a modest helping of butter, sugar and honey, I felt this might fit the January bill for those wanting something sweet with a nutritious note. These are also no bake so they are a cinch to put together as we rush back to our work routines, school runs and post-Christmas commitments.
These are really adaptable. If you don’t like one of the ingredients I chose, you can sub in something that you do like. You can use your plain oats in place of muesli or granola, you could add in crispy rice cereal for a new texture, add more nuts, leave the nuts out entirely, add spices. the list goes on. Seriously, create these with whatever is lurking in your cupboards. They’ll be delicious.
The recipe may look somewhat vague (though I have told you what I chose to put in my batch). I wanted to make it easy to understand how to substitute your favourite ingredients, you’ll need to keep the total weight the same for anything that you swap out but play with the recipe to your heart’s content!
Chewy Adaptable Granola Bars
50g butter (to make this dairy free, use a dairy free spread)
125g light brown sugar
370g granola (or muesli or just plain oats)
75g dried cranberries (or raisins, chopped dried apricots or whatever else you fancy)
70g chopped hazelnuts (almonds, peanuts, pecans or you could substitute seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin or sesame)
80g dark chocolate, finely chopped (optional, you can use dairy free chocolate here too)
Line a 22cmx33cm baking tin with parchment paper and set aside.
Place the butter, sugar and honey in a large saucepan and heat, stirring occasionally, on a medium high heat until melted. Bring the mixture to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
Take the mixture off the heat and add in the granola, fruit and nuts. Working quickly, stir the mixture thoroughly to make sure everything is coated with the honey mixture. It will be sticky!
Turn the mixture out into the prepared tin and spread evenly as best you can. Lay another piece of parchment paper on top of the mixture and press down firmly to ensure it’s compact and even.
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt either in the microwave or over a pan of hot water. Pour the chocolate over the granola mix and spread evenly. Set aside and allow to cool for 15-30 minutes or until set.
Using a sharp knife, cut into bars and enjoy.
Linds Hall runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.
Follow her on Twitter @PixieHallCakes
Photographs by Keith Osborn Photography