Monday, 25 November 2013

Apricot and Almond Granola Bars

Mid-morning I enjoy a mug of coffee, usually accompanied by some sort of snack, by snack of course I mean some piece of good for nothing processed rubbish. I know, I know you'd think that I would have a steady supply of my own baked goods to choose from, but alas not always.

So when my baking falls short, I end up consuming processed snacks! They satisfy me for about half an hour, then I start craving more and so it goes until lunch. That gnawing feeling of wanting to eat something but knowing that I don't really need to.

This is where this recipe comes into play, I noticed that I was eating more and more empty calories which was perpetuating the whole cycle. I got to thinking that some sort of seed or energy bar was called for, after some laborious research (watching the barefoot contessa on the Food Network!) I discovered this recipe. 

Now I eat one of these bars for my elevenses instead, the honey provides all the sweetness I could possibly want and the slow release carbohydrates keep me going for without a single though for a chocolate cookie...Perfect!  

Recipe adapted from Ian Garten's Granola Bars 

Makes 24

170g Porridge
85g Flaked almonds
70g Dessicated coconut
70g Wheat germ or pinhead oatmeal
45g Butter
150ml Honey
35g Light brown sugar
1½ tsp Vanilla extract
¼ tsp Salt
80g Dried apricot, diced
80g Stoned dates, diced
80g Raisins or dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4, line a 20cm x 30cm baking tin with baking paper.

Spread the porridge oats, coconut and almonds onto the prepared baking tray, bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden, don't leave it unattended though, give them the occasional stir with a wooden spoon to save the edges burning.
The smell when you take this out of the oven is mouth watering, when the granola mix is roasted, remove it from the oven, add the wheat germ and allow to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 150ºC/300ºF/Gas Mark 2.

Melt the butter, honey, sugar, vanilla and salt in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Gradually bring it to the boil and allow to boil for 1 minute.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the pitted dates and apricots, about the same size as the raisins should do it.

Tip the roasted porridge mix into the saucepan (set the lined roasting tray aside, it will be used to bake the bars in) and the chopped dried fruit into the melted butter mixture. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon until everything is fully coated.

Pour the mixture into the previously prepared baking tray, pat firmly into place and level off.

Bake in the centre of  the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

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