Thursday, November 28, 2013

Homemade Oat Bars

I started making these about 3 months ago, when my husband re-started going to gym. It has become an everyday morning snack for the whole family, and it is perfect to take to work and school. I have tried a number of variations - there are so many recipes how to make these! In the end, I have found what works for me, and because more and more people are asking how I make these, here it is. Really easy and quick, no baking involved.


500g oat flakes (the big ones, not the little Quaker fast boiling ones)
300g of Tasty Stuff (I usually put about 50g of rice puffs - something like Kellogs Coco-Pops, about 100g raisins OR dried cranberries OR dried goji berries, about 75g dried apricots cut in 4-6 pieces and 75g of various nuts - hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios - in other words - choose whatever mix you like best)
125-130g butter
125-130g dark brown sugar
125-130g honey
vanilla or cinnamon - optional


Mix all dry ingredients together.
Prepare a  baking dish. Cut a piece of baking paper that is large enough to cover the bottom and sides of it, so the mixture won't stick. For this quantity I use a 36cm x 25cm baking tray that's about 5cm deep.
Choose a large pot and melt butter, sugar and honey. Let it pop a bubble or two and stir well to get all sugar melted. Don't boil longer than a couple minutes! Add some vanilla or cinnamon, if desired.
Pour all dry ingredients into pot and mix well with a large spoon. It will seam a little bit dry at first, but keep mixing. Once it has been mixed well and you no longer see dry oats,  pour it all in the baking dish. Even out the mixture as much as possible and press it down with the spoon first, then cut another piece of baking paper to cover the top of the baking dish and lay it over, then smooth the mixture with your hands, pressing it down. The goal is to have a dense bar.
Now leave it to cool and then put it in the refrigerator to stiffen for some 30 minutes to 1 hour before cutting. Then cut to pieces and either place them in an air-tight container in layers separated by baking paper (so they won't stick) or wrap each piece individually in aluminum foil. I keep the bars in refrigerator so they stay fresh, but I take them out at least 15 minutes before eating, so they can soften up in room temperature.

Some notes:
if you live in Greece, it can prove a little tricky to find large oat flakes - not all supermarkets have them. AB Vassilopoulos has them, at least the big ones, they are usually in the cereal section on the bottom shelves, in 0.5kg packages. There are also some ready made mixes with fruits and nuts that can be used, but I always prefer to mix them myself. This way I know exactly where my ingredients come from and what quality they are.