My oldest daughter Gemma is currently commuting daily into London to college and if anyone has teenagers they will attest to the fact that they roll out of bed at the last minute, no matter how early you wake them. No amount of screaming or tempting with a cup of coffee from Mum can get the gears engaged so as a result the frantic rush out the door to catch the train is sheer chaos.
Being a 19 year old girl, there are priorities in the morning ritual of getting ready starting with make up, clothing, hair, shoes and checking the mobile phone, somehow eating breakfast is at the bottom of the list. Between the mad dash to the car (Dad will have it warmed and is probably hooting by now) and grabbing her coat, scarf and school bags, I try and slip to in a form of sustenance to get her through both the hour jam packed commute and the school morning until she is able to have lunch.
Now breakfast on the run is the hard part, she does not want anything that is in a container as she will be stuck with having to carry around both an empty and dirty tub, so yeah I get it! This however leaves me with very few options but to create a recipe that is easy to carry – pocket able, won’t break up into messy crumbs and drip free – no small task!
These bars are ideal for a breakfast grab-and-go making them perfectly scoffable on the train, but they are also great for athletes who need a refuel during a long training session. Loaded with healthy nuts, dates and coconut oil, with no added sugar at all, they are the real deal compared to the clichéd version found on the supermarket shelves.
As with all of my recipes, these require very basic cooking skills, and more importantly hardly any dirty dishes to wash up!
- 1 cup pitted organic dates
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 200g mixed raw nuts (I buy a mixed bag from the supermarket)
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 3 tsp psyllium husk**
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 3 Tbsp cacao
- 100g whole hazelnuts
- 1/2 slab 85% good quality dark chocolate/vegan chocolate
- Soak the dates in the hot water for 10min.
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC.
- In a food processor, add all of the ingredients including the date water (excluding the hazelnuts and choc topping)
- Blitz for 1 min, scrape down the side and blitz again for 1 min.
- Press the batter into a lined 10x8 inch baking tin or even better a silicon tray (like this one)
- Press the whole hazelnuts into the batter.
- Bake for 40min.
- Remove from the oven and immediately turn off the oven.
- Carefully flip out the bake upside down onto an oven rack and slice into bars.
- Separate the bars slightly giving them a little space between each other.
- Return the bars back to the oven for a further 10min to cook the underside - or leave them in longer for a really crunchy bar, but do note they won't be crispy as you take them out of the oven, once they have cool they will crisp up.
- Remove then leave to cool and crisp.
- Melt the dark chocolate and drizzle over the cooled bars, leave to set.
- Do you want a simple original flavour? Leave out the chocolate and hazelnuts, this was my original recipe which I vamped up.
- Not vegan, but I like to add 2 Tbsp of collagen hydrolysate for added protein and nutritional benefit.
- ** If you prefer not to use psyllium husk, then add 3 egg whites and don't add the water just use it for soaking the dates then strain them off - continue the recipe as normal