Our mummy blogger Anneliese says: ‘I must admit that I find weekday breakfasts a tad stressful. Attempting to get out of the door to pre-school is enough to send my blood pressure sky high. I rush around while my three-year-old lies on his bed, refusing to get dressed. Breakfast cereal or toast is left half eaten and my little boy goes to pre-school with hardly anything in his tummy. Not good! However, I believe breakfast bars to be the way forward. They are so easy for my boys to eat. Plus, they are packed full of nutritional goodness and provide plenty of energy to get the boys through to snack time. Some homemade breakfast bars tend to fall apart when sliced, so I came up with these porridge bars and they hold together beautifully. The bars have an almost cake-like texture, which I believe to be an added bonus!’
- 130g rolled oats
- 5 dried apricots
- 25g dried cranberries
- 30g raisins or sultanas
- 20g chopped mixed nuts (optional)
- 15g sunflower seeds
- 10g pumpkin seeds
- 1tsp cinnamon
- 300ml milk
- 1 large egg
- 1-2tbsps runny honey (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- You will also need:
- 23cm x 23cm square baking tin (sealed base)
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. Your child can help to weigh the rolled oats into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
When it comes to the dried apricots you can either slice them with a sharp knife or snip with a pair of kitchen scissors. I prefer scissors as it seems quicker and less sticky. While you snip up the apricots, perhaps your helper can carefully weigh the dried cranberries and raisins into the bowl.
Once all of the dried fruit has been added, move your attention to the nuts and seeds. If you are using nuts you may need to chop them into smaller pieces before adding to the bowl.
Your little chef can easily sprinkle in the sunflower and pumpkin seeds. My little boy loves pumpkin seeds – he thinks they look like rain drops!
Now add in the ground cinnamon. I thought it best to do this part but managed to spill it all over the worktop. I’m leaving it to my son next time!
Pass a spoon to your assistant and ask them to mix all the dry ingredients together.
It’s time to move on to the wet ingredients, so dig out your measuring jug and carefully pour in the milk.
If your child wants to crack the egg, it might be best to do so in a separate, small bowl, so that any stray pieces of shell will avoid your oaty mixture. After spending some time chasing pieces of floating shell around your little bowl, pour the egg into the milk and give a quick whisk with a fork.
Carefully measure the vanilla extract onto a teaspoon and then add to the milk and egg mixture. Ask your child to give the mixture one last whisk before pouring the wet ingredients into the dry.
Your helper can now give all of the ingredients a good mix, to combine. You may start to panic at this point as the mixture is so wet – but don’t worry, this is what it’s supposed to look like.
Allow the oats to start soaking up the milk and egg while you dig out your square baking tin and line the base and sides with greaseproof or parchment paper.
Stir the mixture once more and then pour it into your prepared tin. Feel the level of panic rise as you observe the oats floating in a sea of milk!
Place your filled baking tin into the oven and allow to cook for 45 minutes to 1hr, until the mixture has set and the top is golden brown.
You may be relieved to see that the porridge bars are firm as the oats have soaked up the liquid like a sponge!
Leave the porridge bars to cool completely in the tin.
Once the bars are cold, cut into slices and enjoy a nutritious and guilt-free breakfast or snack.
Not only are these oaty porridge bars great for breakfast on the run but they are also very handy for those of us watching our weight as they contain no added sugar or butter!