I adore any recipes containing oats in some form, and I am also a huge fan of dried fruits (except for apricots which the thought of sends shivers down my spine!) and in the past have often spent a small fortune on shop bought cereal bars, despite having a cupboard full of porridge oats and various fruits and nuts...
..Today became unexpectedly free of plans, and whilst my first thought was shopping, my bank balance told me sternly otherwise. Then I thought maybe a nice afternoon movie and lounge on the settee....but then logic kicked in - the cake tin was empty as of last night and so I decided to refill it instead. The sofa can wait for me!
I initially had in the back of my mind a recipe I had seen for banana and date bars. This was most likely due to the fact that earlier in the week I had picked up a bargainous kilo box of Tunisian dates for two whole pounds, so I have more than a few to spare (!), along with several ripe bananas begging to be eaten in the fruit bowl. Why do they always decide to ripen at once, so inconvenient haha! However upon reading the recipe, I just wasn't feeling the love and did a little searching and went to my old favourite - the bbc good food website! After finding a suitable recipe and noting its very forgiving to adjustments given the fact I didn't have some of the ingredients, I promptly baked a batch.
And the result?
I vow never to buy shop bought bars again! Why have I waited so long to make my own?
My version really was quite different in the end but worked perfectly. They are slightly soft without falling apart, perfectly sweet and yet not to sweet, and full of sticky fruit and oaty goodness. I plan to leave a few in the cake tin, and freeze the rest, to stop me eating them all. Will let you know if it works! (NB: They freeze beautifully! I individually wrapped them in foil, then placed in a freezer bag)
From the original recipe I halved the butter and replaced it with mashed banana, so you can tell yourself these are low fat too.....!
Cuts into twelve bars of loveliness
Pre-heat oven to 160o
Either line and grease a square cake pan (mine was a 20cm one) or even easier dust off your abandoned silicon one. It really works a treat here.
50g unsalted butter
1 ripe medium banana, mashed
70g dark brown sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
140g rolled oats (mine have added wheatgerm and stuff!)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50g coconut powder (or descicated)
3 tbsp mixed seeds (I buy 'omega mix' which has linseeds, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower and possibly more in)
100g of dried mixed fruits (or nuts) - mine consisted of the following:
-40g chopped stoned dates
-5 glace cherries
Gently melt together the butter, sugar and golden syrup until all nice and liquid and the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the banana.
Combine the remaining ingredients and fold into the syrupy mixture - a silicon spatula is most helpful here until all nicely mixed. Press into your pan of choice and bake for a little over 30 minutes or until lightly golden - there should still be a little give when pressed.
Leave to stand for five minutes and then using a sharp knife gently cut into desired shapes and allow to cool for a further 15 minutes or so before removing to a cooling rack.