Is it a sign you’re getting older when the cereal bars you used to eat so many of as child/ teenager suddenly start to taste too sweet, too artificial and generally unpleasant?
I brought one to work with me the other day, and despite feeling really hungry, struggled to finish it. It just didn’t taste much like ‘real food’. Is this what happens when you start baking all the time and cooking everything from scratch? Everything that comes in a packet begins to taste like plastic?
So, no longer liking shop-bought cereal bars, but still wanting a cereal bar type snack, I clearly only had one option – make my own.
And so I did, and came up with these, apricot and almond granola bars.
Satisfyingly sweet, without being anywhere near sickly, and sufficiently wholesome-tasting with all those oats, juicy chunks of dried apricots and flaked – good for wrinkle prevention – almonds. (Definitely getting older…I’m thinking wrinkles already! And there was me as a kid thinking wrinkles were only something you needed to start worrying about when you were 70. Did you know the ‘recommended’ age to start ‘wrinkle resisting’ is 25, apparently? Although I have my suspicions that’s just the skin-care industry trying to get us all to purchase their – more expensive – anti-ageing range two decades before we really need to!)
Cut into squares, wrapped individually in cling-film then stored in an air-tight container, these bars will last well for about 5 days. I also put a whole load of them in the freezer, taking one out each morning before work. They defrost by the time you start to get those mid-morning munchies.
These granola bars are pretty satisfying, so can be cut into fairly small portions, meaning you can get quite a few bars out of one batch…I made it sixteen, which meant three 5- day weeks worth of cereal bar convenience (plus a spare).
Apricot and almond granola bars -loosely adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook
- 250g oats
- 80g soft brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 60g ground almonds
- 150g dried apricots, chopped
- 50 flaked almonds
- 100ml honey
- 50g butter, melted
- 1tbsp orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line an 8-inch square pan with baking paper so that it overhangs the edges of the tray slightly.
- Place 100g of the oats in a food-processor or blender and blend to a powder (alternatively, you could substitute 100g of the oats for plain flour).
- Mix together the whole oats, ground oats, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, ground almonds, dried apricots and flaked almonds in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl or jug, whisk together the honey, melted butter and orange juice until well combined. Pour over the oat mixture and stir well to ensure all the dry ingredients are coated in the liquid ones.
- Transfer the mix to the lined baking pan and smooth even with the back of a spoon, a spatula or your fingers, pressing the mix down into the tin to ensure all the ingredients are tightly packed together.
- Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until beginning to brown around the edges. The mix will still feel a bit soft but will firm up as it cools.
- Remove the pan from the oven, leave to cool for fifteen minutes, then score into bars with a sharp knife. I made 16 and found these to be the perfect size for a small snack, but if you want something more substantial, go for 12. Allow to cool completely.
- Using the overhanging edges of baking paper to help, remove the granola bars from the tin. Using a sharp knife, cut along the score marks to separate out the bars. Wrap in cling-film and store in an airtight container, or freeze.