A friend of mine is having a baby soon (there are so many people with babies and weddings!) and so a bunch of friends decided to make up a hamper for her... I offered to bake up a few things to put in there, considering shes going to be getting a few visitors, as well as being too knackered to do anything (even though she is a chef - it doesnt mean she can be bothered to cook with a new baby!) I decided to put, amongst other things, some breakfast bars together.
Oaty, nutty, fruity and sweet, bars like these are intended for people who need some energy and sustenance, fast!
I was leafing through Nigella Lawsons book, Express (which I picked up quite cheap from catchoftheday.com.au) and I came upon a recipe for breakfast bars, which called for things I had lurking in my cupboard already.
- 1 x 397g can condensed milk (really..? I just used the normal sized can. which is 395g)
- 250g rolled oats (not instant)
- 75g shredded coconut
- 100g dried cranberries
- 125g mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
- 125g natural unsalted peanuts
Ok I didnt follow the recipe exactly, as I had no shredded coconut and not that many cranberries. I get little boxes of dried fruit and nuts every week from Harvest Box of which I often put the contents into a jar, as a result I have quite a collection of dried strips of mango, prunes, flame raisins, apricots, apples etc. So I just gathered around about 125g of mixed nuts and 150g of mixed dried fruits...
A couple of things about the recipe... You cant leave the condensed milk very long in the pan as it starts to caramalise and you get little brown flecks through the sweet viscous liquid. It turns out it doesnt really matter if it happens a little bit, but if you leave it long enough its just going to burn... this you do not want!
When the mix is in the tin to bake it is VERY sticky, try not to use your hands unless theyre greased or use a spatula or a spoon. I got it aaaaaaaall over my hands! Yummy to lick off though :D
Heres the method, as found on Nigellas website;
- Preheat the oven to 130°C/gas mark 1/2, and oil a 23 x 33 x 4cm baking tin, or use a throwaway foil one.
- Warm the condensed milk in a large pan.
- Meanwhile, mix together all the other ingredients and then add the warmed condensed milk, using a rubber or wooden spatula to fold and distribute.
- Spread the mixture into the tin and press down with the spatula or, better still, your hands (wearing disposable vinyl gloves to stop you sticking), to even the surface.
- Bake for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and, after about 15 minutes, cut into four across, and four down to make 16 chunky bars. Let cool completely.