This past weekend was absolutely great, I had such a blast, my cheeks are still recovering from all the laughter. While we experienced some unexpected weather warm on Saturday and Sunday I was indoors taking lots food shots and whipping up some recipes.
I had one of those disaster recipes using some dasheen (taro) I just couldn’t seem to get the formula for this veggie dish I was trying to make. I quickly become frustrated and winded up toss the whole thing in the bin, worse still dasheen isn’t exactly cheap either, you live and you learn.
Moving swiftly on, my cousin came over for the weekend and so I decided to ween her into the kitchen. Her mother does a lot of cooking with her so it didn’t take much convincing to get her on board. While I’m on the subject of children cooking I am a firm believer of engaging kids from a young age in learning some basic culinary skills. Once that curiosity sets in, let them join in (albeit in a safe environment) with some of the cooking/baking.
Needless to say we had a lot of fun, I championed her culinary skills, she earned her accolades and thus this elevated her self-esteem. Now that I’ve given you a snippet of how the recipe unfolded, let’s dig in and get right to it.
Granola bars are extremely popular right now, you’ll find them everywhere; supermarkets, farmers markets, health stores etc.. you name it and it’s there. I tell you what, just mention granola bars during your next conversation about food and I promise you that whoever you’re conversing with will engage in some discourse about granola – you either love it or hate it.
The thing which concerns me the most about these bars are those unwanted preservatives and high levels of sucrose (sugar). While I love eating granola bars, the sugar content is often off putting, so to remedy this problem I went ahead with making a batch myself, with that being said, mine are slightly moist because I sweetened them with applesauce and a very small amount of coconut nectar (low glycemic index). The applesauce creates a moisture and chewy texture without going overboard with the sweetness.
The low sugar content makes them perfect for people who are afflicted with diabetes, hypertension or providing your little ones with a healthy sweet treat. They’re loaded with cranberries, raisins, seeds, coconut and a few spices to enhance the taste. I also used gluten free quick oats, that tend to absorb more moisture than jumbo oats, so you;ll find the texture to be chewy, if you want more of a crunch, no worries, simply use gluten free jumbo oats.
This recipe isn’t difficult at all, it’s very easy, hence why it’s perfect to get your little ones involves. I didn’t take any step by step pictures on this occasion as I got waylaid with baking with my little cousin but the recipe guidelines should be clear and concise.
- 2½ cup of gluten free oats (jumbo or quick oats)
- 1 cup of sunflower seeds
- 1 cup of shredded coconut
- ⅓ cup of raisins
- ⅓ cup of cranberries
- 1 tsp of vanilla (powder of extract)
- 1 tsp of ginger
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1 cup of applesauce
- ¼ cup of coconut nectar
- Preheat the oven at gas mark 4 or 190 degrees celsius.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and toast the coconut and oats for 10 minutes. Don't worry if the entire batch doesn't turn brown.
- Meanwhile get the binding ingredients ready and combine the applesauce and coconut nectar together in a large mixing bowl.
- Proceed to remove the toasted grains from the oven and cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Fold in the oats, sunflower seeds, fruit, spices and vanilla into the wet ingredients until the oats are well coated.
- Tip the granola mixture into a square baking tin lined with parchment paper. Add another layer of parchment paper on top and proceed to press down lightly using a baking tin of the same size to press down with.
- Remove the top layer of parchment paper prior to placing in the oven.
- Bake in the oven at gas 4 or 190 degrees celsius, baking time will vary depending on the size of the oats. Jumbo oats should take 15-20 minutes. Quick oats due to the excess moisture will take 30 minutes. Check throughout in order to ensure the granola doesn't burn.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.