I love a good snack, whether I’m hungry or whether it’s to pass the time and get me through my 3pm slump at my desk. Oh and obviously I love a snack overload on any kind of train/car/plane journey! But, snacks for me are usually a bit naughty (I’m very partial to a crisp and definitely won’t say no to a biscuit). So I wanted to find something I could make from scratch that was filling and tasty, and that the other half would eat too! In comes the granola bar. Filling, tick. Tasty? Some can be, normally with lots of sugar and others are like rabbit food. Not for me, thank you. So that’s when the G-Bar was born.
The first time I made these I made them too soggy. No one wants a limp G-Bar. I’ve played around with this recipe and think I’ve got it now! The oats are still slightly soft but with more seeds there is a crunch. But they are not supper crunchy like a biscuit. You could use a variety of seeds and fruit – which ever are your favourites really. There are cherries, goji berries and sunflower seeds in here all because it’s what I had in my cupboard the first time I made them. Also, I have got much better at the chocolate bit – you should have seen the mess the first time I attempted it!
This makes 6 bars.
175g Oats (I use large rolled oats)
110g Dried apricots, chopped
20g Dried dates, chopped
15g Goji berries
30g dried cherries
4 tbsp pumpkin seeds
3 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp coconut flakes
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp agave
Pinch of cinnamon
50g Dark chocolate
Get your apricots and dates into a pan and add enough water to cover them well (about 1cm over/1 cup of water). Bring to the boil and turn down to simmer for 20 minutes. Make sure they don’t start to stick, you want it to go very soft and syrupy.
Whilst they’re simmering, pop a tray into the oven with the coconut oil for a minute to soften, then add the agave and mix. Add your oats to the tray and mix to make sure they’re all coated with the oil/agave. Bake these at 160 C for 15 minutes, I like to give them a little shake a couple of times to make sure they brown evenly.
Once your fruit is done whiz it up in a blender until smooth (you may need to add a drop of water to allow it to blend properly). Then put it back into the pan and add you goji berries and cherries and leave for 5 minutes. I do this as it softens them up a little for the bars.
Add the cinamon, seeds, coconut flakes and oats and stir until everything is coated. Line a tray with greaseproof paper and spread your mixture out. You want it to be about 1cm – 1.5cm in thickness. Try and keep it even all over with neat edges. I use the back of a wooden spoon to spread and the the flat side of a spatular to neaten it up. Then bake at 160 C for about 20 to 25 minutes. Just check on it every so often to make sure it’s not burning. You want it to go a golden brown, you don’t want burnt oats and fruit!
When it looks done take it out and place on a cooling rack – no soggy bottoms please.
When it’s completely cooled you can start to make your chocolate. Now, it’s totally up to you how much chocolate you add to your bars. I like half and half, it’s dark chocolate, it’s good for you! But, you could skip the chocolate if trying to be even healthier or just creatively sprinkle across your bars for a little taste of chocolate. It’s your G-Bar, your call.
Melt your chocolate in a pyrex bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl is not touching the water and as you add the chocolate add half a teaspoon of coconut oil to the bowl. As I mentioned in my Luxury Fruit and Nut post, I can’t remember exactly where this tip came from but someone said this adds a great shine to the chocolate and I’ve done it ever since.
Take your bowl off the heat. Carefully cut your bars up, into 6. I’ve also cut them into 12 squares before for more bite-size snacks which are great for sharing. Then with each bar coat with chocolate – I hold the bar up and spoon on the chocolate on the edges I want to cover so that it drips down and coats evenly. Then place on a tray lined with grease-proof paper. Once their all done, I place the tray in the freezer for about half an hour just to set the chocolate quickly. Then I place them in an air-tight container and keep in the fridge and snack on them during the week. Welcome to the G-Bar.