Back to Work, Super Healthy Brekky Bars

I think we all have to resign to the fact that the holidays are over.  And with the lack of holidays comes that depressing 9 – 5 (what a way to make a living… NOT) routine we all hate so much.  What if I told you that you can rustle up these on-the-go breakfast bars, shaving precious minutes off your morning routine – more time for beauty sleep – that will leave you full ’til lunch?  Approximately a gajillion times tastier than anything on the Starbucks menu and much, much better for you.  Packed full of fruity, nutty goodness with oats (super healthy cholesterol-lowering stuff) and bound with condensed milk for you sweet toothed monsters.

To knock up a batch this weekend, ready for envious breakfast stares on the tube next week you will need:

1 tin condensed milk (397g – what a weird number to come in, why not just make it 400!?)

250g rolled oats

75g desiccated coconut

100g dried apricots (you could also use cranberries, raisins, goji berries….)

125g walnuts (or peanuts…any nuts really, just not salted. ewww)

125g flaked almonds (Nigella uses mixed seeds but I couldn’t find any)

As you can see the recipe is very flexible, you could use any mixture of nuts, dried fruit and seeds as long as the weight matches up.

Before I get started I should say that this is based on the goddess Nigella’s recipe. We are both big Nigella worshippers.  Quick, easy, delicious recipes and hot DAYUM that woman is sexy!

Right, let’s get on with it.

You need a big bowl.  A very big bowl… Bigger than that. Notice in the photographs I had to swap bowls half way though.

Weigh out all of your fruit & nuts and chop the apricots into little pieces, also crush down the walnuts so that they’re manageable.  Nobody needs excess chewing in the morning.  Throw all of this into your massive bowl.

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Give it a mix…

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Add the oats.

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*inconspicuous bowl change*

Heat up your condensed milk (this stuff is heavenly so perhaps buy 2 tins, just incase one doesn’t make it) in a saucepan on a low heat.

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I know that Mummy will be VERY jealous of this.  Many a time have we been making breakfast bars and she sneaks away a few teaspoons on condensed milk for herself…

Once the milk is warm (don’t even let it get close to boiling) add this to your dry ingredients and give it a good ol’ mix around.  Really get in there, you don’t want dry mixture anywhere.

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Taste a bit, just to make sure it’s not poisoned…

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Now, like most normal people would, Nigella uses a baking tin but for some bizarre reason I don’t own one.  So I used 2 cake tins instead.  If you’re like me then evenly spread your mixture into the tins and squish down with the back of a spoon.  If you’re more on it with the kitchen utensils then squish into a baking tin like a normal person. The squishing is very important because you want your bars to be quite dense to avoid any embarrassing crumby/loosing-half-your-breakfast-down-your-top-situations on the train.

Bake in the oven on 130º / gas mark 1/2 for an hour.  This will make your kitchen smell ah-mazing.

Before…

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After…

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Not a huge difference I know, but you’ll know it’s ready when the top is nice and golden.  Don’t panic if it’s still a little squidgy to touch, it’ll harden up when it’s cooled.

Once they’re cooked, leave them in the tin until they’re completely cool.

If you’ve waited that long (well done you) then cut the big bar(s) into little bars.  This recipe can make 16 bars but you can cut the chunks as big or as small as you please.

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Treat yourself to a few of the end bits, they’re too small for breakfast anyway!

Store the bars for up to a week and do not, I repeat DO NOT take any into work for your gannet-like colleagues to demolish unless you don’t want that extra beauty sleep we talked about.

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