Posts Tagged With: honey

Healthy Rice Krispie Granola Bars

Well, I think it’s about time to make my first blog post of 2017! A very belated Happy New Year to you all ūüôā

In my last post I said I wanted to try and eat healthier and shift a bit of weight, and by some miracle I’ve actually stuck to it (thus far)! I’ve not been following any kind of radical diet, just cutting down on the amount of naughty stuff and exercising more. I’ve been going to the work gym twice a week, walking to and from the office every day and taking lunchtime yoga classes on Mondays, also at work (one of the great things about being employed by a university is the access to an array of convenient fitness facilities, and at a significant discount!)

I’ve managed to lose 6 pounds so far, which I’m really pleased about as I’m not trying to lose a shedload of weight in a short period, only to pile it all back on when the urge to eat a wheelbarrowful¬†of Dairy Milk becomes too much. I want to do it gradually while still being able to enjoy my favourite treats in moderation. To be perfectly honest, I’ve not missed eating cake that much but chocolate is proving to be very much my Achilles’ heel…

The downside to this wee health kick is that I’ve not been doing as much baking, apart from¬†a few cake requests for colleagues. However, my other half bought me the latest Bake Off book for my birthday last month and it contained a fabulous recipe for ‘Posh Granola Bars’, which I knew I had to try right away. Toasted oats, Rice Krispies, nuts, fruit and honey in yummy crunchy¬†bar form and easy on the waistline to boot – what’s not to like?

They turned out delicious, but I decided to adapt them slightly in¬†subsequent¬†batches¬†by increasing the quantity of Rice Krispies, substituting the butter for peanut butter and using raisins instead of dried cranberries. I like these ones even better, and they’re easier to cut without turning to crumbs, meaning they’re perfect to take to work for a healthy and filling mid-morning snack.

If you’re not as mad a fan of Rice Krispies as me, cut the amount down to 25-50g and up the oats to 200g, although personally I love the crunch they add! Also feel free to use¬†whatever dried fruit you like, or maybe go wild and add some chocolate chips?

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INGREDIENTS – makes 12 bars

  • 150g/5 oz oats
  • 70g/2.5 oz Rice Krispies or other puffed rice cereal
  • 100g/3.5 oz mixed nuts, coarsely chopped (I used pecans, walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts)
  • 50g/1.5 oz peanut butter
  • 160g/5.5 oz honey
  • 50g/1.5 oz raisins
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan).
  2. Tip the oats and chopped nuts into a rectangular baking tray and add the cooking oil.
  3. Use your hands to combine the mixture, rubbing the oats so that they’re lightly coated in the oil.
  4. Place the tray in the oven for around 6-8 minutes until the oats become slightly dry and golden.
  5. Place the honey and peanut butter in a mixing bowl and melt together in the microwave in blasts of 1 minute until smooth.
  6. Pour the oat and nut mixture, Rice Krispies, raisins and cinnamon into the wet ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine. If the mixture seems too dry and crumbly, add a dash more honey.20170212_122217
  7. Wipe the baking tray clean and line with parchment paper, then pour in the mixture and press down evenly with a spatula.
  8. Place in the oven for around 10 minutes until the top of the mixture is light brown in colour.
  9.  Leave to cool on a wire rack and then cut up into bars using a sharp knife.
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Categories: flapjacks, Healthier, Traybakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Honeycomb & Chocolate Flapjacks with Marzipan Bees

I’m a huge fan of The Great British Bake Off’s 2013 champion, Frances Quinn, who captured my heart with her incredible culinary creativity when she appeared on the show. She is an idol of mine as I love how she always thinks outside the box and is constantly¬†coming up with quirky new twists on recipes.

There are lots of brilliant cooks out there, but¬†I’ve never come across another with¬†Frances’s talent of taking baking to the next level by¬†slathering¬†it with an extra layer of fun and Willy-Wonka-like wonder. A big jam sandwich recreated in Victoria sponge, biscuit¬†matchsticks, squirrel cake and a giant Swiss roll cigarette were¬†among her wonderfully imaginative creations on the show, proving that it is indeed possible to combine both style and substance. I’ve never seen another contestant come close to her in terms of visual presentation¬†before or since, despite the hundreds of showstopping bakes produced over the years.

Needless to say, I was desperate to get my hands on a copy of her book, Quinntessential Baking, when it was released and it has become a firm favourite. Instead of churning out recipes for the same old ‘best ever chocolate cake’, blueberry muffins and¬†yet another pavlova that hardly differ from the offerings of the dozens of other cookbooks that clamour for attention among the saturated culinary market, I adore the way in which she outlines a set of base recipes and then tells you how to¬†transform them¬†into something wonderfully ingenious with a few simple touches. Some delightful examples include a wall of Bourbon ‘brick’ brownies, white chocolate candles, meringue swans and bonfire cupcakes with spun sugar flames. And, as a fellow lexeme¬†lover, her cute puns and wordplay make me feel all warm and fuzzy!

Anyway, despite my rambling ode to Ms Quinn’s fabulousness,¬†this post doesn’t actually include one of her recipes. However, the¬†creations I’m sharing here were very much inspired by her. Some¬†the gorgeous adornments Frances¬†suggests in her book are marzipan bees, which I’ve copied here and¬†which inspired the idea of¬†honeycomb flapjacks. I realise it’s hardly the most original concept in history, but I like to think of them as a little homage to the Queen of Creative Baking. And they taste absolutely bee-rilliant (sorry…)!

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INGREDIENTS – makes 12 large or 18 small flapjacks

For the flapjacks:

  • 130g/4 oz butter or margarine
  • 170g/6 oz brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 255g/9 oz oats
  • 4 x standard Crunchie bars, chopped into small cubes (as in the picture below)Untitled

For the bees:

  • 3 tbsp marzipan (approx.)
  • Chocolate or black writing icing
  • 10 flaked almonds

METHOD

For the flapjacks:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a rectangular baking tin with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter/margarine, sugar and honey together – either in a saucepan on the hob or in a large mixing bowl in the microwave – until smooth.
  3. Stir in the oats and chopped up Crunchie bars until the oats are all evenly coated.20160409_162606
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and pop in the oven for around 15-20 minutes until the edges are slightly brown (the mixture will will firm up as it cools)
  5. Leave to cool on a wire rack and then cut into bars with a sharp knife. If you’re very patient you could cut them into individual hive-esque hexagon shapes!

For the bees:

  1. Tear off pieces of marzipan around the size of a 50p piece and roll into balls with your palms.
  2. Use the writing icing to pipe three horizontal stripes and two eyes, as in the picture.
  3. Gently push two flaked almonds into each bee so that they resemble wings.
  4. Arrange artistically on top of your flapjacks!
Image of Quinntessential Baking book copyright Amazon.co.uk
Categories: flapjacks, Traybakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No-Bake Oaty Peanut Butter Squares

Originally posted 28/04/2015

These squares are my favourite things to make when I fancy some homemade treats but can’t be bothered to switch on the oven and create lots of washing up, or when I want something yummy that’s not as heavy as cake. 

They really couldn’t be easier to whip up and the salty crunchiness of the peanut butter goes amazingly well with the sweet honey and chocolate chips.

Although I wouldn’t call these creations ‘healthy’, they’re certainly a bit less sinful than a doorstop of frosted cake or a big gooey chocolate cookie. Having said that, they’re so ridiculously moreish that I find myself unable to stop at just one and could happily devour an entire batch in one sitting – and that definitely doesn’t constitute a guilt-free snack!

These squares are dairy-free (if you use ‘proper’ dark chocolate with a high cocoa content that doesn’t contain milk – check the label), and can be made vegan by using vegan-friendly chocolate and substituting the honey for maple syrup.

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 15 squares

  • 300g/10.5 oz oats
  • 240g/8.5 oz crunchy peanut butter
  • 120g/4 oz honey
  • 60g/2 oz dark chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Line a rectangular cake tin with baking parchment or clingfilm.
  2. Place the peanut butter and honey in a saucepan and stir on a low heat until smooth and melted together.
  3. Pour in the oats, chocolate chips and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until all the oats are covered.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and press down with the wooden spoon to form an even layer.
  5. Place in the fridge to set for a minimum of 1 hour before slicing into squares with a sharp knife.
Categories: No-Bake | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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