Wednesday, 26 August 2015

oat, fig & apple energy bars

What do you do with apples and figs from the garden? Bake them of course! My fruit intake is miserable unless accompanied by a sweet crumb or dough - which is terrible I know. So in order to remedy this I thought I’d travel down the healthier route and be inventive with my baking this week. Energy bars are everywhere and although they promise goodness, not all are created equal. Some of them are just nutty chocolate bars with a sprinkling of oats impersonating a nutritionist in a packet. Don’t worry this won’t turn into wheatgrass chia fest (sorry wheatgrass chia lovers!) It’s just nice to be have a healthy moment now and again. :) 

Although I like the taste of granola bars sometimes they can be a bit too chewy, so I decided to make something with a softer texture. These energy bars are so delicious and super easy to make. Soft, chewy and flapjack-like in texture they make perfect snacks when you’re on the go, or just fancy a healthier treat after an indulgent phase (ahem, sorry - major indulgent phase!)

I didn’t have any dried fruits apart from raisins and was reading something on dehydrating your fruit at home to I thought I’d give that a try. Baking thin pieces of fruit in the oven before use really helps reduce the moisture in them and is perfect if you want to use up fruit but don't want the water content ruining your energy bars and turning them into boiled fruit bars! I used a regular sized loaf pan to make my bars as I was making a small batch but you can always double the ingredients and use a brownie pan for a larger surface area. 

Ingredients (makes 8 small pieces)
1 cup oats
1 small apple thinly sliced
2 figs thinly sliced
2 tbs chopped cashews
2tbs raisins (sliced if large)
3 tbs flaked almonds
¼ tsp cinnamon
4 tbs honey
3 tbs oil
2 tbs milk
2 tbs brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 190c or 180c (fan) /gas mark 5 and bake the apple and fig slices to dehydrate them in a hot oven for about 20 minutes, turning slices over halfway.

Meanwhile, in a small pan gently heat (but don’t boil) the milk, honey, sugar and oil on a low heat and until everything is blended. This takes about 1 minute. Set aside.

In a bowl add the oats, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and chopped nuts and raisins.

When the apple and fig slices have cooled chop them into small pieces and stir in to the oat mix.

Add the warm wet ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine all the ingredients.

Drop the mixture into a lined loaf tin and press down to flatten evenly.

Bake at the same temperature for 30 minutes until golden on top.

Cool completely and slice into 8 bars.

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