First posted: Jan 14, 2014

Lunchbox Lovelies: Sugarfree Oat Bars with Pistachios and Apricots

 

Our little Sophie is off to pre-school for the first time ever this week (don’t get me started), and so I thought it only fair that besides the usual lunchbox paraphernalia, she has a little home-made treat to keep her company when she has her little snacky school lunch. (And what if she finds herself sitting alone at lunch time? and can she even unzip her little lunchbag by herself? and will she be able to open the yoghurt and actually feed herself? and what if the other kids have nicer treats than her???) (I am guessing that as a Mother, this list of questions never goes away, it’s just the kind of questions that changes as your children get older, right?) – ANYWAY, the home-made snack idea ended up here, with these gorgeous sugarfree (!) Oat Bars which are crammed full of a whole bounty of goodness in the way of  pistachios, slivered almonds, dessicated coconut, dried apricots and a pinch of cinnamon and ground ginger. They are bound together, very innocently, by a very soft, ripe banana, a dash of oil and a good drizzle of honey. And oh goodness, I put peanutbutter in half of the mixture and it was devilishly delicious. I’ve since added them to Rob’s lunchbox list as well and he says they go down a treat with a cup of tea, so there you go. One size fits all.

Obviously you don’t have to have the whole list of ingredients below, I just happened to have them in my pantry and so added in a whole menagerie, but a simple combination of almost any nuts and any dried fruit that you have will work brilliantly. I am dying to dry figs or dates, and raisins or cranberries would also be good.

 

Ingredients

Cooks in:        Serves:4-6 as a snack

  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon and ground ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups raw oats
  • 1/3 cup each of slivered almonds, roughly chopped pistachios, roughly chopped dried apricots, dessicated coconut (or a combination of your choice, use seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, figs, dates - go wild)
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter (optional) (I used sugarfree), loosened with 1 Tbsp hot water
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey

What to do

1. Pre-heat your oven to 170C and line a 20cm x 20cm baking tray with baking paper.

2. Add the banana to a large mixing bowl and mash well with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients except the oil and honey and mix well until combined.

3. Briefly heat the oil and honey together in a small saucepan or in the microwave and add to the remaining mixture, mixing until combined.

4. Spread the mixture out into your prepared baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden. Remove, allow to cool on a wire rack and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container. Keeps for about 1 week (if they survive greedy fingers for that long!)



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