Breakfast Bars 2.0

I have a breakfast bar recipe in an earlier book, but this is the new, improved version: gluten-free, dairy-free and enough seeds to make you start sprouting. I've used no sugar, but before you start thinking this is virtuously sugar-free (which I could claim it to be), remember that the sweetness that comes from the dates is, in essence, sugar, though certainly it's unprocessed and full of fiber at the same time. There are a lot of ingredients, but you need a good mixture to give crunch and chew--and all manner of smugness-inducing nutrients--though you can fiddle about with them. You can, for example, use sunflower seeds in place of flaxseeds, or half and half rather than all flaxseeds, as below, and you can also use puffed rice (gluten-free if needed) or buckwheat flakes in place of cornflakes. In theory, cornflakes (and oats) should be gluten-free, but if crucial, make sure it's stipulated on the packet. If you can't get hold of medjool dates, then use 350 grams (12 ounces) pitted dried dates and up the water to 400 milliliters (scant 1 3/4 cups). And they'll take about 10, rather than 5, minutes to cook until they're soft enough to mash to a purée. Make these bars at the weekend, and you'll be set up for the week if you're someone who needs to grab-and-go in the morning. They come in pretty handy for that 4pm slump, too.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 16 bars
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Ingredients

250 grams (8.8 ounces) Medjool dates

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

325 milliliters (1 1/3 cups) cold water

75 grams (2.6 ounces) goji berries

75 grams (2.6 ounces) pumpkin seeds

150 grams (5.3 ounces) brown flax seeds

50 grams (1.75 ounces) cocoa nibs

25 grams (1 ounce) chia seeds

25 grams (1 ounce) cornflakes (gluten-free, if required)

100 grams (3.5 ounces) organic porridge oats (not instant)

Directions

Special equipment:
8-inch square baking tin
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F)/gas mark 4 or, and line the bottom and sides of your tin with baking parchment. Pit the dates and tear them with your fingers into a small saucepan, add the cinnamon, cover with the water, bring to the boil and let bubble for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and beat with a fork until you have a rough puree.
  2. Put all the remaining ingredients into a large bowl, add the date mixture and mix until everything is combined. I wear a pair of disposable vinyl gloves for this.
  3. Squodge into your prepared tin and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until firm and set, and golden on top and darker around the edges. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into pieces.

Cook’s Note

Store in an airtight container in a cool place or in fridge for up to 1 week. Wrap bars individually in plastic wrap or foil and put in a resealable bag, or stack bars in an airtight container with baking parchment in between the layers. Freeze for up to 2 months. To defrost, put bars on a wire rack and leave at room temperature for about 2 hours.

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