Lucky Lunchkit Granola Bar recipe
You know the drill: Get up, get the kids up, you stand at the kitchen table asking yourself “What am I making for school lunches today?” or more to the point “What can I pack in the bleedin’ lunch kit that won’t come back home untouched-but-never-the-less-somehow-badly-bruised?” Yup! I love it! And if you think that your kid is special because he / she always eats everything in their lunch kit and never brings anything back, then you, my dear, are kidding yourself! It’s like a market in Marakesh over there in the school yard. They trade and negotiate, switch and swap like you never knew. I found this out the hard way when I discovered a fistful of Japanese candy wrappers in G’s jean’s pockets in the wash one day. When I asked where she got them from I was told that she traded her egg sandwich for them. That would be the sandwich made with the egg that I got up early to boil, so that I could make the sandwich fresh that morning for school. (Growl.)
So my plan switched to including a good treat as well as the healthy stuff, so that there is less need for a trade. Plus if you can get the treat part to be healthy-ish then you’re ahead of the game, Mama! And so I present this yummy recipe I came up with for addictive Lucky Lunchkit Granola Bars. (I’m calling them “lucky” because if your kid gets home-baked vs store bought they better know how lucky they are!) High in fibre, adaptable options for picky or nut-free kids, they’re freezable and defrost quickly. Best of all they’re a doddle to make – even kids can make or at least help with tis recipe. So let’s get to it. Here’s the recipe:
LUCKY LUNCHKIT GRANOLA BARS
Start off by preheating your oven to 350˚F (180˚C) and buttering a 9 x 12″ Pan.
Mix the following dry ingredients in a large bowl:
3 1/2 cups Oats (I like the Old fashioned large flake kind, but you can use quick oats)
1/2 cup Unbleached Cake Flour
2 tbsp Flax Seeds (optional)
2 tbsp Sesame Seeds (optional)
2 tbsp Quinoa (optional)
1 cup Dried Fruit of your choice (cranberries, chopped dried apricots, raisins, chopped dried apples etc. Pick 2 or 3)
1/2 cup Nuts (If you’re allowed them at school)
1/2 tsp Salt
(Optional: Sometimes I put 1/2 cup less Oats and add 1 cup of Rice Crispies – makes them a little more chewy and less crunchy)
Place the following in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring to mix the ingredients:
150g (5oz) Butter
1/3 cup Corn or Golden Syrup (a friend told me she replaced the syrup with Agave instead and that they were still good)
1/2 cup Sugar
When this mixture froths up pour it quickly into your dry ingredients bowl and stir the whole lot together making you you get all the dry bits at the bottom mixed in.
Plonk the whole lot into the buttered pan and spread around more or less evenly.
Then this is the neat trick part: Place a sheet of wax paper / parchment paper / Gladwrap over the mixture and press it down into a compacted block in the pan. You want it nice and solid, but don’t work up a sweat, that’d be inconvenient! Remove the wax paper / parchment paper / Clingfilm. (This is important!)
Put the pan in the oven for about 25 minutes until the granola bars look golden and the edges are slightly browned. remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting up. (If you don’t they will fall apart.) Cut with a sharp knife. Pop the granola bars in a tupperware to keep fresh or in a ziplock freezer bag if you plan on freezing them. (They will defrost by recess) If not frozen they’re good for about a week, sometimes longer.
Our fave combo is: Dried cranberries, dried apricots & cashew nuts. (I leave the nuts out when making for school) or cranberry, pecans & chocolate chip.
Additional option: You can put chocolate chips in them too (which I did in half the batch in the pic) but you have to add these AFTER you have compressed the mixture down as they will melt otherwise and make a bit of a mess. Just press them into the top of the smoothed mixture in the pan before placing in the oven. For coconut lovers you could add some in with your cup of fruit. I personally can’t stand the stuff, so avoid it like the plague.
Aside from lunchkits these are also yummy for: afternoon tea snack, handy on-the-go snack, hiking fodder, pre-sports carbo loader, or a fibre booster for those that need a bit of help.
Let me know what your family thinks of them and what stash of goodies they put in them. I’ve been making them for years and you may have a new idea I hadn’t thought of.