Jamie Oliver's pistachio, apricot & dark choc energy bars
I don't know about you, but we eat a lot of muesli bars in our household. They're just so handy to take to work for a snack. It got me thinking, surely I could find a recipe for something tasty that I could bake myself which would still fit the bill of being a delicious, semi-healthy snack.
Cue Jamie Oliver's recipe for pistachio, apricot & chocolate energy bars. If this recipe didn't sound good enough by the name alone, it has medjool dates AND maple syrup. It also has something I had never tried before, almond butter. Turns out almond butter is quite delicious & it could almost be said it gives peanut butter a run for it's money.
Now, one of the main aims of my blog is to give you handy tips & tricks to avoid recipe failure. Often times I've tried to bake something & it hasn't quite turned out the way I expected, so I always make sure I steer you in the right direction to avoid this happening to you. This energy bar is no exception. Having made it once before, I encountered a couple of little snags, like the chocolate melting through the mixture when I added it. Rather than staying in melty bits throughout the slice, the whole slice turned chocolately brown. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but it's not like it looked in the picture. So for my second attempt, I waited for the rolled oat mixture & the sauce to cool, so that when I added the chocolate it held it's shape. The second thing was that I had problems getting the slice to hold together once baked. I think this might have been because I thought I could get away with using normal dates rather than the fancy medjools. Turns out I was wrong. The reason for using medjool dates is that they are much bigger, plumper & more gooey than your average 'cooking' variety date which is much drier. When cooked in the sauce, the medjools really help to thicken it up. I also think that the slice needs a little longer in the oven. I would recommend leaving it in for more like 30 minutes give or take, at least until it is golden brown & feels firm to touch.
The recipe calls for 100g of mixed seeds. On my first attempt I used a seed mix which contained poppy seeds - & I noticed that the poppy seeds seemed to brown very quickly, almost to the point of burning. This makes complete sense in hindsight of course as they're so small. So for my second attempt, I opted for sunflower seeds & pumpkin seeds (AKA pepitas). These worked a treat given they were similar in size to the rolled oats & chopped pistachios. The recipe also asks for smooth almond butter. I couldn't find smooth, so had to go with crunchy, which hasn't hindered the slice in any way - so don't worry if crunchy is your only option.
Now that I've shared my pearls of wisdom with you, let's look at the recipe.
75 g shelled pistachios
100 g mixed seeds
250 g rolled oats
8 medjool dates
100 g dried apricots
50 g good quality dark chocolate (70%)
100 ml maple syrup
4 tablespoons almond butter
What to do
- Heat your oven to 180C static or 160C fan bake.
- Prepare a flat baking tray & a square (roughly 20cm x 20cm) baking tin, by spraying them with cooking oil & then lining each one neatly with non-stick baking paper.
- Chop the pistachios, then add to a bowl along with the mixed seeds & rolled oats. Give everything a quick stir, then pour out onto your baking tray. Level off & then pop it in the oven to roast for around 20 minutes. Watch it like a hawk & be sure to remove it every now & then to mix it up a bit to avoid any corners from burning & to ensure a nice even roast. Once toasted, remove from the oven & leave somewhere to cool.
- De-stone (& remember this bit - for medjool dates still have the stones in them) & roughly tear up the dates, chop the dried apricots & chocolate.
- Grab a small saucepan, chuck the dates in along with the maple syrup, almond butter & 150 ml of water. Heat gently for around 20 mins until you have a thick, sticky sauce. I mashed the dates as they softened with a potato masher - just to help things along a bit. Once your sauce is ready, set it aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, place the cooled rolled oat mix, the apricots & chocolate & mix to combine. Then add the cooled sauce & mix quickly to combine.
- Pour the mixture into your baking tin & use a spoon to press it in & level it off.
- Bake for around 30-35 mins or until golden brown & feels firm when you push down on it. Just keep an eye on it as every oven varies & wit ill also depend on the depth of your tin. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
Thanks to Jamie Oliver for another delicious recipe. Follow this link to check out the original recipe: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/chocolate-recipes/pistachio-apricot-dark-chocolate-energy-bars/#BrfCpygGv4iplgs3.97