Al’s Brekkie Bars….

Brekkie special bars

You know those days where you’re trying to be good but fancy a big fat muffin? Well here’s my answer to those days. (frequent occurrence in Al’s house, so luckily these freeze superbly without losing any of there loveliness).  These are based on a Nigella Lawson recipe which is fab, so please see her book Simply Nigella or website for the original recipe.

The joy of these is once you have your base you can pretty much add whatever you fancy – your choice (well within reason!) they are dairy free (unless you add chocolate!) and if you use gluten free oats & cornflakes or puffed rice they will be GF too

This is my fav combo, I’ve broken the recipe into must haves and swappable (my favourites, but please experiment).

Hope you like it, please let me know your opinion, comments, and general taste testing! Drop me a line at alsyclarke@yahoo.co.uk

Or on twitter @alsyclarke

Ingredients

Must have

Dates – 250g (preferably Medjool – what a funny name, reminds me of Ali G!) They must be pitted. But if not just break them up and whip out the stone.

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

125g porridge oats (gluten free ones if needed – oats are not gluten free as I discovered to my pain)

25g rice krispies or cornflakes (gluten free options now in most supermarkets)

25g chia seeds – yep, I know but they are great for your skin!

300g in total of seeds and dried fruit – the seeds must be 200g of the total (see some suggestions below)

50g of cacao nibs which are dairy free (or chocolate drops if not making dairy free)

Swappable

75g of any dried fruit – cranberries, blueberries, apricots, goji, the choice is yours! You can use fresh, but that will reduce the storage time

130g of sunflower seeds or flaxseed – sunflower are easier to get I find and cheaper.

75 grams of pumpkin seeds or flaked almonds

25g of nuts (any you like) to mix in or to decorate

White Choccie drops, well we all need a bit of chocolate some days.  Even a small amount will make people happy.

Marshmallow pieces.  I’m not a fan, but kids will go wild! They melt well too.

A teaspoon of vanilla essence, or honey – I like this to give a little sweetness

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The fun bit – making them!

Simples.

Firstly make sure you switch the oven on at 180 degrees centigrade (Gas Mark 4)

In a small saucepan (milk pan size) put the pitted dates in and just cover with water. Bring to the boil and let bubble away on a gentle heat until soft (takes about 5 minutes). Take off the heat and either blend or mash using a fork or a masher till you have a thick syrup style mush!

Put all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add the date syrup. Stir well until all mixed together (be patient, it takes a few minutes). Use a spoon or you may burn your little fingers.

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Then put into a lined and greased baking tin – doesn’t matter if square, oblong or circle – depends how particular about the slicing into even portions! You need a layer about 2.5cm (1inch in old money) thick.  I use my brownie tin (note to you all, brownies are my favourite.  Hint over).

Put into the oven and cook until set. It should feel firm to the touch and a little tanned from the heat. In my fan assisted oven it takes 23 minutes but please check after 20 minutes.

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Let cool and cut into 12-14 portions.   Freeze half if you live on your own like me, or spread the love to your families or colleagues (hint, hint).

Eat with tea or as I prefer on my morning commute an Oat milk latte (with a little dunking action going on!).

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Enjoy!

Ax