Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Beast Bars

The baking wonderland is such a rich and varied landscape that one requires a near limitless supply of energy to bound across it as often as I. These bars are a perfect pick me up, packed with a bounty of wholesome goodies and just the tonic if you find yourself in need of a guilt free refuel. So if you find yourself at somewhat of a low ebb, weary, washed out and in need of your inner 'beast mode' then have a batch of these at the ready. You will be back in the game, ready for action before you know it!

Prep time: 20 Mins
Baking time: 30-35 Mins
50g Rolled Oats
50g Oat Flour (Available online or from health food stores)
50g Ground Almonds
75g Toasted Flaked Almonds
90g Dessicated or Shredded Coconut
1tsp Cinnamon
50ml Milk
85ml Rapeseed Oil
100g Natural Fruit Based Sweetener (Such as http://www.sweetfreedom.co.uk/index.php/sweet-freedom-original)
1tsp Almond Extract
1tsp Vanilla Extract
250g Pitted Dates (Chopped)
150g Sultanas or Plump Raisins

These are positively virtuous, so no excuse not to get cracking! Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a smallish baking tin (mine was around 27x22cm) with baking paper (if you're lucky you'll be able to do this with a single sheet). In a large bowl mix together the oats, oat flour, ground and flaked almonds, coconut and cinnamon. Add the milk, oil, sweetener and extracts, then throw in the dates and dried fruit. Give it a loose mix with a wooden spoon, then get your hands in there and bring the mixture together until consistent, albeit slightly sticky. Tip into you prepared tin, press down firmly and evenly to the edges, then bake in the centre of the oven for around 30-35 minutes, until golden brown on top.

When you are happy the mixture is baked remove it from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Once cool remove from the tin and slice into bars with a sharp knife, carefully peeling each bar from the paper once sliced. The best thing about these bars is that within reason you can freestyle to your heart's content, replacing or adding ingredients as you see fit. Just remember to adjust the baking time accordingly and maybe refrain from throwing in handfuls of M&M's or Skittles!

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