10:30am and the hunger pangs strike. By this time I’ve been awake for over 4 hours and I’m desperately trying to stop myself from demolishing my lunch before I’m even close to hitting the halfway point of the day. The alternative is usually a sad-looking piece of fruit that’s been on the desk for a few days or forking out for an over-cooked (and not-so-healthy) croissant in the work canteen. Mmmm.
It’s times like these when I crave a (relatively) guilt-free snack that won’t damage my less-than-forgiving bank account. Hence, this recipe! It’s incredibly simple to make and uses easy-to-find ingredients. You can also substitute the cranberries and nuts for alternatives and mix-up the recipe with whatever takes your fancy. For example, dried cherries and macadamia nuts work wonderfully stirred into the mix.
I usually make these on a Sunday evening to get prepped for the week ahead – having yummy snacks works wonders for my Monday morning motivation! Just wrap ’em up and get ready to say goodbye to bland cereal bars…
3tbsp rapeseed oil
160g chopped nuts (I’ve used a mixture of Brazil nuts, almonds, peanuts and cashews)
50g sunflower and pumpkin seeds
25g puffed rice
1tsp ground cinnamon
40g dried cranberries
40g unsalted butter
25g desiccated coconut
For the finishing touch…
100g dark chocolate
1. Start by heating the oven to 180C, then pour the oats into a roasting tray and drizzle with the oil. Rub the oil into the oats with your fingertips until they’re lightly coated and bake for 15 minutes.
2. Remove from the oven and sprinkle in the chopped nuts, seeds and puffed rice. Pop the tray back into the oven and toast for around 5-10 minutes or until wonderfully golden.
3. Once this has toasted nicely, scatter in the dried cranberries and a good shake of cinnamon. Leave the mixture to cool and reduce the oven temperature to 170C.
4. Gently melt the honey and butter over a low heat, then bring to the boil. Stir into the oaty mixture until glossy and tip into base-lined and greased baking tray. Level the surface and press down lightly with a spoon.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until gorgeously golden and place the baking tray onto a wire cooling rack until cool. Cut the granola bake into 12 bars.
6. Finish by melting the dark chocolate and spooning it into a piping bag, before drizzling over the crunchy granola bars and enjoy!