When I was pregnant with Milo, I relied heavily on cereal bars during those first few weeks. And since I’m really starting to think about the new baby and the maternity leave now, I thought I’d be prepared this time and make my own. This is the result!
I loosely based these on this recipe, which I chose over others because they’re held together by dates and peanut butter, both of which I love and are also vaguely healthy. Others used bananas, but I’ve made banana oat cookies before and while they were ok, they tasted just a bit too virtuous, or some kind of sugar butter combo, which takes them more into flapjack ‘occasional treat’ territory. I also chose this one because there’s no baking involved.
I had to adapt the recipe because of course it’s American and all the cup stuff is just so confusing. I know I keep banging on about this but SURELY no one actually spoons peanut butter into a cup and smooshes it down only to scrape it out again. So tedious and wasteful. Also, what a cup of oats or dates is surely depends on the types of oats and the size of the dates!
Anyway, this is the recipe I came up with. The proportions worked really well, and I will be making it the same way next time – and there will be plenty of next times. You could of course switch the dried berries and cherries for any other fruit, and the pecans and cashews for any other nuts, I just used these because that’s what I had at home.
Makes 16 bars of about the size of ones you can buy in shops.
200g pitted dates (I used halawi, but I don’t think it matters)
200g rolled/old fashioned oats
50g berry and cherry mix
100g chopped pecans
100g chopped cashew nuts
6 tbsp nut butter (I used a mix of peanut and cashew)
6 tbsp honey
1. Chop up dates and process them in a food processor until it’s a sticky paste
2. Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix
3. Add the dates and mix. Once the dates are coated in oats and oat dust it’s easier to break up the ball of date paste. Try and break it up quite a lot. If you leave larger pieces they will stay that way in the final bars, which might be what you want, but I think it’s better for it to be spread about more
4. Warm the nut butter and honey in a saucepan or the microwave
5. Pour into the oat mix and mix well
6. Line a 17cm x 25cm pasta bake dish (or any appropriately sized flat dish/cake tin) with baking paper or cling film and add the oat mix. Press down well to remove any air and flatten the top
7. Put in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
8. Cut into bars.
Keeps best in the fridge (stops it falling apart) and apparently the freezer if you want to keep them for longer.
Let me know if you make them!