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It’s crunch time!

If you’re anything like me then you’ll know how it feels to have your tummy rumble hours before lunch because you skipped breakfast, again! I’m one of those people that only eats breakfast at the weekends; when there’s enough time to wake up and ponder the kitchen for breakfast ideas. I’m not exactly a morning person and always find myself choosing an extra few minutes in bed over breakfast before work. Well it’s time to worry no more, hit the snooze button in peace, for these granola bars are the quick morning boost you need to keep you going until lunch.

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And let’s not forget the freekeh flour. If you haven’t heard/used freekeh before then you’ve been missing out! Freekeh is an ancient grain that has become more and more popular in recent years for it’s amazing nutritional benefits. The wheat is harvested when still young and green, it’s then roasted over an open fire and everything is rubbed off so you’re left with the grain.

You can use freekeh in place of rice as it is similar in texture but more firm, flavourful and nutritious. I’m in love with this grain and use it whenever given the excuse to! In this recipe I have used freekeh flour for its nutty flavour, because it’s less carby than plain white flour and is high in protein and fibre. If you don’t have freekeh flour available to you then you can swap it out for a different flour (but, trust me, you’ll want to get your hands on some of this magical stuff).

CARAMELISED CASHEW GRANOLA BARS

Serves 12 | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 25 minutes | Total time: 40 minutes (not inc. standing time)


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups (175 g) rolled oats
  • 1 cup (120 g) freekeh flour (or preferred flour)
  • 1/2 cup (115g g) dairy-free spread
  • 1/4 cup (85 g) maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) unrefined brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (150 g) mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, flax)
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) raisins
  • 1/4 (40 g) dried cranberries*
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 100 g bar dark chocolate (optional for coating)

For the caramelised cashews

  • 1/2 cup (110 g) chopped cashews
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (or agave)
  • 1 tbsp unrefined brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dairy-free spread

METHOD

For the caramelised cashews

  1. Melt the spread in a non-stick frying pan over a low heat.
  2. Add the maple syrup and sugar, stir to combine.
  3. Add the cashews, stir until coated then fry for 3-5 minutes, stirring so as not to let them stick to the pan and burn.

For the granola mix

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4.
  2. Place the oats, flour, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Melt the spread, In a separate bowl, mix the melted spread, brown sugar and maple syrup.
  4. Pour the spread mixture into the oat mix and stir until everything is coated. Add the raisins, cranberries, seeds and caramelised cashews and stir to combine.
  5. Line a baking tray with baking paper and transfer the mixture to the tray, pat it down firmly to even it out. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden.
  6. Once baked, leave to cool in the baking tray for 1 hour, then put in the fridge for another hour.
  7. When the granola has cooled you can easily cut it into bars or squares.

Optional chocolate dipping!

  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl that is safe to heat.
  2. Fill a sauce pan with water about a quarter of the way up and put over a high heat.
  3. Place the bowl with the chocolate over the pan and stir until melted.
  4. Turn off the heat and dip the granola bars in the melted chocolate and place on a tray lined with baking paper.
  5. Transfer the tray to the fridge and leave to cool for 20 minutes or until the chocolate has set.

Notes

You could try adapting this recipe using your favourite nuts, seeds, dried fruits and even chocolate chips! The bars will keep for 10 days – store in the fridge or a cool place, in an airtight container for 10 days.

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