These cereal bars are pretty tasty. And I don’t mean they’re likely to get into a ruck in the East End.

Rainbow ingredients

How could anything containing these ingredients be bad?

In my lifelong battle to force myself to eat healthily, I have often enlisted the cereal bar as an ally. It can generally provide just about enough of a sweet hit to banish 4pm cravings without resorting to a (more delicious) high calorie chocolate alternative. However, commercial cereal bars tend to be either packed with sugar and ingredients not available in the home baker’s arsenal, or stupidly expensive with a wholefoodsy-organic air of pretentious smugness.

It had never occurred to me to try making my own cereal bars before. The closest I’ve come was a fairly uninspiring phase of granola manufacture about a year ago. These are much better and contain NO BAD THINGS (apart from butter, and I don’t really count butter as a Bad Thing.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp linseeds
  • 2 bananas
  • 100g (3½ oz) butter. You can sub peanut butter if you like. I use a combo.
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup (or honey, or agave nectar)
  • 150g (3½ oz) oats
  • 100g (3½ oz) dried fruit, roughly chopped

Method

  1.  Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF/ gas mark 4). Butter a 28 × 18 × 4 cm (or 20cm square) cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  2. Roughly chop any of the fruit, nuts or seeds if you like. I leave my seeds whole, but would chop nuts if I chose to add them.
  3. Chopping strawb
  4. Peel and mash the bananas.
  5. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the golden syrup.
  6. Add the chopped seeds and mashed bananas, and then the oats and dried fruit.
  7. Mixture in pot
  8. Mix together well, then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. The mix is pretty sticky, so this takes a bit of time.
  9. In tin unbaked
  10. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Baked
  12. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 mins, then mark into 12-16 bars and leave to cool completely.
  13. Cut up
  14. The bars can be kept in an airtight tin around two days. I guess the short shelf-life is due to the banana. I wrapped my bars individually in clingfilm and then put them in a plastic tub in the freezer. This strategy works really well AND you have two weeks’ worth of cereal bars for about an hour’s work and a cost of about £2.
  15. This recipe is super versatile. I’ve been experimenting with different combinations of fruit, seeds and nuts. This is definitely something that most people could whip up from store cupboard ingredients in a pinch.
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