Today’s recipe is Peanut Blackberry Oat Bars with Cacao. Being a parent I know just how challenging it can be to come up with delicious as well as healthy lunchbox ideas – most commercially produced snacks contain too much sugar or fat or salt, so even though kids love them their nutritional value is very low most of the time. I am happy to say that this recipe is 100% ‘kid approved’ – my son came back from school today, devoured a couple of these straight away and asked if he could take some to school tomorrow!
What I love about creating healthy snack recipes such as this one is that I can sneak lots of nutritious ingredients into them without making it too obvious (food that’s perceived as ‘healthy’ is not very popular in my house), as long as the flavours and proportions are right. None of the ingredients in this recipe overshadow the rest, so there is just a hint of fruit and peanut butter, you can’t really taste the banana (I used it mainly as a sweetener), and there are vague dark chocolate notes somewhere in there too. These bars are moderately sweet but you can add more honey if you like (or even swap it for maple or agave syrup). The best thing to do to decide whether they are sweet enough is to taste the mixture before tipping it into the baking tin.
I used cacao rather than cocoa simply because it’s more nutritious (click THIS LINK for a brief explanation as to why that’s the case), but you can use either.
These Peanut Blackberry Oat Bars with Cacao have a soft, slightly moist and chewy texture, so once the mixture has baked and cooled completely it’s easy to cut it into different shapes (and get the kids involved) – I chose a geometrical theme, but you can use most cookie cutters. These bars not only make a great lunchbox idea but can also be enjoyed as an after school snack . They can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days wrapped in paper.
Yields 9-10 bars
10 minPrep Time
25 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
- 180g blackberries
- 4 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 1.5 cups rolled oats
- 1.5 tablespoons cacao (or cocoa)
- 2/3 cup almond flakes (a little less than a cup)
- 50g butter (plus a knob for greasing the tin)
- 5 tablespoons honey
- Preheat the oven to 325 F/ 170 C/ gas mark 3. Lightly grease a square 20cm tin (or equivalent), line with baking paper and set aside.
- In a saucepan combine the blackberries, butter, banana, honey and cocoa, and cook over a low heat for about 7-8 minutes, squashing the blackberries with the back of a spoon or fork, stirring often. Remove from the heat.
- In a large bowl combine the fruit mixture with the oats and almond flakes, stir thoroughly, then pack the mixture tightly into the baking tin. Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon or spatula and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool before cutting into bars (or other shapes).