Start with a double dose of oats and you’re on your way to a heart-healthy snack. They’re perfect or lunches or bringing on road trips.
Let’s get baking
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Makes 12 bars
- 350 g (1 1/2 c) old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
- 125 g (1/2 c) oat bran
- 75 g (1/3 c) flour
- 150 g (2/3 c) dried apricots, coarsely chopped
- 75 g (1/3 c) walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 30 ml (2 tbsp) toasted wheat germ
- Salt to taste
- 50 g (1/4 c) frozen pineapple juice concentrate
- 30 ml (2 tbsp) packed light brown sugar
- 30 ml (2 tbsp) honey
- 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line an 28 x 43-centimetre (11 x 17-inch) metal baking pan with foil, leaving 2.5 to 5 centimetres (1 to 2 inches) hanging over ends. Spray with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
- Place oats and oat bran on jelly-roll pan and toast until oats are lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Transfer to large mixing bowl and add flour, apricots, walnuts, wheat germ and salt.
- Combine pineapple juice concentrate, brown sugar and honey in small skillet. Cook over medium heat until brown sugar has dissolved, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture, stirring to coat.
- Spoon oat mixture into baking pan. With moistened hands, press mixture into even layer in pan. Bake until firm, about 20 minutes. Using foil, carefully lift out mixture and cool on wire rack. On work surface, cut into 12 bars.
- Substitute dried raisins, cherries or chopped dried apples for the apricots.
- Use peanuts, almonds or pecans instead of the walnuts.
- Try a stronger-flavoured honey, such as buckwheat, or if you prefer a milder one, use clover.
- For a gift, wrap the bars in wax paper or plastic wrap, then in colourful wrapping paper, and then tuck them into a pretty basket. They’ll keep about one week.
- These bars are significantly lower in fat and total carbohydrates than commercially boxed granola bars. They are also light in sodium, which is important for healthy blood pressure.
- Using fruit juice concentrate eliminates the need for oil in this recipe. The concentrate gives the bars moistness and provides some extra flavour as well.
Key nutrients per serving: 140 calories, 30 calories from fat, 4 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 4 g protein, 26 g carb, 3 g fibre, 0 mg sodium.
Blood pressure nutrients: 4 mg vitamin C, 50 mg magnesium, 245 mg potassium, 19 mg calcium.