Hello friends! I know I always seem to be starting with the weather, but today it really does seem necessary. I mean, spring really has sprung. The tiny leaf buds are bursting open on our apple tree, some of the cherry blossoms in our street are even beginning to fall to the ground, though most of them are in the process of bursting forth. The temperature is finally up into double figures (even though we've had the log burner on every evening for the past three!) and things are looking brighter in general. And I need a bit of positivity at the moment, as I'm becoming a little negative in my head of late. In fact, of the last few years. Various things have been troubling me, and I sometimes allow myself to be troubled, rather than trying to bring myself out of it. So I must continue to be creative and productive, because these two things always lift me and help me think I'm perhaps worth more than I think I am.
Well, that was rather a dreary start to a post which is actually rather exciting, because I created this recipe the other week, having been mulling it over for a little while, and, first time, it came out perfectly! I often create rather simple raw healthy snacks, rather than baked, but I really wanted to try a combination of dry ingredients, particularly mixing oats, ground almonds and coconut, and I had been considering dried fruits and nuts, and as my mind turned over, pretty much everything that could be thrown in! So this is what I came up with, and named rather appropriately. I do hope you enjoy them. I must add though, that these bars are best eaten within three days, and are at their absolute best when fresh. You could try freezing them though; I haven't tried it myself, but if you do, let me know how they turn out...
This recipe does require the use of apple purée, which can either be made in advance, or literally just before you start baking. It can also be frozen very easily, which I like to do, in small freezer bags. See the note at the end for how to make apple purée if you are unsure. Also, as you will see from the photos, I grind almonds in a spice mill to make my own ground almonds, rather than buying them ready ground, as it's so much cheaper.
Ingredients (makes 10)
- 50g oats
- 25g dessicated coconut
- 50g ground almonds
- 50g wholemeal plain flour
- 1 heaped tbsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- 200g apple purée
- 1 heaped tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 20g brazil nuts, chopped by hand
- 20g almonds, chopped by hand
- 20g pecans, chopped by hand
- 70g dried apricots, chopped
- 4 Medjool dates, deseeded and chopped
- Stand mixer or hand-held or rotary whisk
- Large mixing bowl
- 20cm square baking tray, greased with coconut oil and lined with baking paper
Pre-heat the oven to fan 170⁰C.
Place the apple purée, egg, melted coconut oil and maple syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until combined. Alternatively, use a mixing bowl and hand or rotary whisk. Set aside.
Put the oats, dessicated coconut, ground almonds, flour, baking powder, mixed spice and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
Add the apple purée mixture and stir well, then add the chopped dates and apricots, and all but a small handful of the chopped nuts, mixing everything together until nicely combined. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the top, then sprinkle the remaining nuts evenly over the top, pressing them in gently. Bake for 25 minutes until the top has started to go golden-brown.
Remove from oven and cut into 10 slices, as pictured
So another tradition I seem to have developed is to say, when I publish a treat recipe, enjoy it with a cup of tea, so please do. Or a cup of coffee. Or whatever is your hot drink of choice. These lovely, satisfying bars are crammed full of flavour and texture, and they really do fill a gap mid-afternoon. We all really loved them, even the husb!
I hope your family enjoy them as well!
Thank you for reading, lovely foodies 🙂
To make apple purée, simply peel and core about six apples, place in a saucepan with a splash of water, put the lid on and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the water has evaporated and the apple has completely softened into a purée. Six apples will probably make more than you need for this recipe, but the purée I used was made from the Bramley apples from our apple tree, and I had just made a massive batch of purée late last year, and frozen it in pouches of 200g each.