Granola bar heaven!
These are my new favourite thing. They're delicious, they're made of a few simple ingredients, they have no added sugar and they're the absolute perfect mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up if you're feeling hungry but don't want to be tempted by the Prêt next door to the office or the vending machine in the café. I didn't used to be a granola bar fan (particularly as a lot of the store-bought ones are so packed with sugar and not actually that healthy for you) but these have converted me.
I call them my oaty puff banana fruit bars and they're ALSO vegan and gluten free. Wahey! Everyone's a winner.
The original recipe calls for a lot of seeds, which I didn't have to hand, and some that I didn't like, as well as very specific fruit. I just grabbed what I had lying around and put that in instead. The best part about these bars is that they really are that flexible. Don't like one of the seeds or nuts I've put in the recipe? Pick your own favourite. Short of another? Just double-up on something else.
They're really quite hard to mess up!
Oaty Puff Banana Fruit Bar Recipe
10 mins prep | 25 mins bake | 12-15 bars
3 medium-large ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (170g) rolled oats or Scottish porridge oats
1/2-3/4 cup (70-90g) dried mixed fruits (I love the fruit, so I always go to the higher end of this range. You can choose one type of fruit if you prefer cherries, cranberries, or whatever your heart desires really.)
1/2 cup (60g) walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup (60g) sliced almonds
1/2 cup (70g) sunflower seeds
1/2 cup (60g) pumpkin or pepita seeds
1/2 cup (15g) wholegrain puffed rice (Kallo or Rude Health do good options, usually in the 'Free From' breakfast section)
1/4 cup (20g) desiccated coconut (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. Line a large square baking dish (I use 8" x 8" or 9" x 9" if you prefer thinner bars) with parchment paper and grease the sides a bit.
In a large bowl, mash the banana until smooth, then add the vanilla.
Place the rolled oats into a food processor and pulse until the oats are coarsely chopped (I skip this step if I'm using the porridge oats as they're already finer than rolled oats -- do what suits you!).
Chop the walnuts and dried fruit and add to the oats. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix.
Add the dry ingredients to the banana mix and stir until fully combined. Sometimes I get my hands in there to make sure (Just wash them first!!).
Spoon mixture into prepared dish. Press down until tightly packed and smooth out the top with the back of a spoon until it's even.
Bake for 25 minutes, until firm and lightly golden along the edge.
Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes in the pan, followed by further cooling until room temperature on a cooling rack.
Slice into bars once cool.
10. Option: sometimes if I really want a chocolatey treat, I melt a couple of squares of dark chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the bars before I cut them. This makes them look nice as well as adding a kick of chocolate deliciousness!
These bars can be kept for almost a week in an air-tight container, and you can also wrap them individually in parchment and freeze them if you want to keep them for a bit longer.
Adapted from Oh She Glows Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars.