The Boys have been begging to help bake all week, even though we’ve been out and about every day and have barely eaten a meal at home, so today, with rain forecast, I decided to have a baking day.
We didn’t get much done as the sun ended up making an appearance and the call of digging mud in the garden with toy excavators was too strong and they ran off halfway through…
But what we did make was delicious and loved by us all so will definitely be a lunchbox staple from now on.
Now unusual for me but this one is a little labour intensive, however I promise you it is worth investing in a little preparation time as they’re quick to cook and very satisfying so with a little willpower will last you a good while in an air tight tin. As long as you keep the tin out of reach of little hands.
The version I’ve made here is dairy free and with a couple of minor tweaks could easily be gluten free, vegan, nut free or even all of the above, so delicious whatever your dietary requirements.
400g chopped dried fruit such as dates, figs, prunes or apricots (I used a mixture of figs and prunes but any combination would work well)
150g spelt flour (for GF use 75g rice flour and 75g coconut/quinoa/amaranth/etc flour)
200g rolled oats (if GF make sure you use GF oats)
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2tbsp milled nuts (GF) or wheatgerm (NF) (leave out for both NF & GF or sub for some milled seeds or sesame seeds)
120g coconut sugar
150g extra virgin coconut oil
1tsp vanilla extract
2tbsp 100% peanut (or other nut) butter (omit for NF or swap for a good quality tahini paste)
2bsp honey (swap with maple / corn / golden syrup if Vegan)
2tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp coconut flakes
Preheat the oven to 175* and line a swiss roll tray with parchment.
Place the chopped dried fruits in a small saucepan with 200ml water and the vanilla extract and cook over a gentle heat for around 10 minutes until the fruit has absorbed all of the water. Scrape the fruit into a food processor and blitz until you have smooth puree. Set aside to cool.
Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, oats, desiccated coconut, milled nuts & bicarbonate of soda) and set aside.
In a separate saucepan gently heat the coconut sugar, coconut oil, peanut butter and honey and gently whisk until all of the oil has melted and the sugar dissolved. At this point the mixture will separate into an oily liquid and toffee-like substance but don’t worry as this is what it should be doing, just carry on whisking until the sugar has dissolved as it will come together as soon as it is mixed into the dry ingredients.
When you’re ready, quickly mix the contents of the saucepan into the dry mixture and stir thoroughly to combine. Mix in the fruit puree and again, stir, stir, stir.
When you’re happy everything is mixed together nicely, firmly squash the mixture into your prepared baking tray. Sprinkle the coconut flakes and poppy seeds on top and gently press down to ’stick’ them, then pop the tray in the preheated oven. Cook for 15 minutes then turn the tray and pop back in for another 10-15 minutes.
When it’s ready allow it to cool in the tin before cutting it into squares.
I promise you it is delicious and so adaptable beyond what I’ve highlighted here. Try it out. And let me know what you think. I dare you…