oats

Vegan Berry Oat Bars

These dark chocolate covered bars are packed with nuts, seeds, fresh blackberries and oats; they’re essentially loaded flapjacks without the refined sugar and dairy, so you can feel a little better about having that extra piece (plus they’re vegan and absolutely don’t taste like those cardboard-esque ‘healthy’ alternatives to baked goods- you know the ones I mean).

Ingredients

  • 175g coconut oil
  • 175g your favourite nut butter (I used a combination of almond and peanut)
  • 175g agave syrup
  • 400g oats (I used Royal Oats Jumbo variety which you can find here)
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • pinch salt
  • 50g flaxseeds
  • 50g chia seeds
  • 150g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 200g fresh raspberries
  • 200g fresh blackberries
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • freeze dried raspberries (optional)
  • a few chopped pistachios (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c (325f/ gas mark 3). Grease and line a square brownie tin (about 22x22cm).
  2. Place the coconut oil, nut butter and agave syrup in a saucepan and heat gently until everything melts together, then set aside.
  3. In a large bowl stir together the oats, spices, salt, seeds, pistachios, blackberries and raspberries. Pour the slightly cooled nutty liquid into the bowl and mix until the dry ingredients are all evenly coated (don’t be too rough with the berries as they can break up quite easily- you want some to remain whole!).
  4. Tip the oat mix into the prepared tin and pack down with the back of a spoon. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  5. Once baked, leave the traybake to cool completely in the tin. When it’s cooled and set up a little melt the dark chocolate (either in a ban marie or in short blasts in the microwave) and spread evenly all over the top. Sprinkle on the freeze dried raspberries and chopped pistachios (if you’re using them) and chill until the chocolate has set. Slice into bars and enjoy!
Advertisements

From One Extreme To Another

DSCN5311

DSCN5306

My family, like any, have contrasting dietary views and phases which makes baking a single item to please opposing teams (healthy vs. all chocolate everything) near on impossible. At the moment my Dad happens to be on a ‘health kick’ whereas my brothers are in a classic eat-everything-in-sight-the-unhealthier-the-betterΒ  phase. As I am sure you can imagine, these food ideals don’t really correlate, so today I made a bake geared towards each ‘requirement’. Pictured above are some rocky road cupcakes I concocted with some store cupboard items; they are made up of a moist chocolate hazelnut sponge topped with chocolate butter cream and wedges of homemade rocky road… four have disappeared since my brother’s return from college… I can’t imagine where they’ve got to.

Below are my healthy nut granola bars. With some simple substitutions, I have taken a basic flapjack recipe and rejected the bad stuff. These contain flaxseed, chia seeds (SUPERfoods), almonds, cranberries, raisins, peanut butter, honey and rolled oats- in other words, they are packed with protein, healthy fats and vitamins.

So, on with the recipes!

For the Rocky Road cupcakes

1) Combine 80g unsalted butter with 280g caster sugar, 200g plain flour, 1 tbsp baking powder and 40g cocoa powder until they resemble bread crumbs.

2) Mix 2 eggs, 240ml milk, salt and pour into the dry mixture. Fold in 80g chopped hazelnuts and divide mix between cupcake cases.

3) Bake for 25 minutes at 180 (Fan). Leave to cool and make the butter cream by mixing 400g icing sugar with 100g cocoa powder and 140g butter together. Add some milk to create a smooth texture then pipe onto the sponges.

4) To make the rocky road topping, melt some chocolate (dark or milk will do) and throw in dried fruits, nuts and marshmallows. Set in the fridge and chop up into rustic shapes to create chocolate heaven!

And for the Granola Bars…

1) This is a throw in a bowl and mix like mad recipe- easy as pie! Just melt 5 tablespoons of peanut butter with a glug of milk, 3 tablespoons of apple sauce and some honey- be conservative with the honey, you can always add more later.

2) Pour that liquid mix into a big bowl and add 200g rolled oats, a handful of almonds, sunflower seeds, walnuts and hazelnuts, 2 table spoons of chia seeds and 80g cranberries and raisins. Combine the dry with the wet and press into a square baking tray. Sprinkle with flaxseeds and set in the freezer. Chop up and enjoy your guilt free snack!

DSCN5294

DSCN5301