chocolatey fruit & oat bars

Chocolatey fruit & oat bars
Chocolatey fruit & oat bars

Now that one of my kids is three and the other is nearly a year old, I sometimes feel as though half of our groceries consist of little packages from the Baby and Toddler Food section of the supermarket. Before child number two came along, I experimented with all sorts of kiddie snacks, ranging from sugar-free cakes to frittata squares, but with a baby as well as a toddler on the scene, I feared that I would never again have time to cook anything more than the bare essentials.

I recently turned to a trusted foodie friend and fellow mum in search of inspiration, and she pointed me in the direction of this great recipe for Sugar-free banana and date flapjacks. I followed my friend’s suggestion of substituting half of the dates with raisins to temper the sweetness of the bars slightly, and I’ve tweaked the recipe so that the texture is softer and therefore better for younger kids. I also add cocoa powder to the bars, mainly to up their treat status in the eyes of my older boy (not that he needs any convincing to eat them!).

If I was baking for a special occasion or attempting to wow the judges of a bake-off, I’d perhaps make something a little more indulgent, but for a healthy(ish) everyday snack, these squidgy slices are incredibly moreish. Not only do they take very little time to prepare, but they also keep really well in the fridge, so you can whip up a batch at the weekend and dig into them whenever you need them over the following week.

Chocolatey fruit & oat bars
Chocolatey fruit & oat bars

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Chocolatey fruit & oat bars
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C/Gas 5.
  2. Grease and line a shallow, square 20 cm baking tin.
  3. If you have a food processor, place the bananas, dates and raisins in the bowl. Using the blade attachment, blend until the mixture has the texture of a rough purée. If you don't have a food processor, mash the bananas, finely chop the dates and raisins, and mix these ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the oats, vegetable oil, cocoa powder and vanilla extract to the banana mixture. If using a food processor, pulse again a few times to combine and break down the oats a bit. Otherwise, stir with a large spoon until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  5. Spread the mixture into the baking tin. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the oat bar slab is just starting to darken around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the tin.
  6. Turn out and cut into slices. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
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