Yesterday, I had actually planned to get home early so I could snap a couple of pictures before the last snippet of daylight was gone. If one of these days you'll see a post with the title: Yeah, so the picture is awful, but the meal was awesome! you shouldn't be surprised. I've whined about the whole darkness thing before, and I probably will again. Don't let it scare you. I like darkness, and the almost obligatory accesory of woolen socks, hot chocolate and roaring fire places that goes with it. But taking pictures in it is not a hoot.
Enough already. What happened yesterday that prevented me from shooting food in daylight was a breakdown on the train line that I catch every morning and every afternoon, going back and forth to the hospital. Instead of the 45 minutes I usually spend on the train, it took me two hours. Doh. But sometimes, that's just the way it is, and while it is slightly annoying, I got a good chance to leaf through the cookbook I brought - I really can't study on the train. Sorry, just can't ;) I also got to contemplate how to work around the fact that both Martin and I are notoriusly bad breakfast eaters. Me, it's got to do with the whole 6 am thing, Martin is more of a 8 am thing, but the result is the same. We don't eat breakfast, we're crazy hungry at 10 o'clock, then eat something nasty and probably not very nutritious, and definitely not very homemade.
Martin's been poking me to make the granolabars I used to do again, so we could eat those. While I think Nigella's recipe for granola is still the best I've come across, the granolabar recipes I've tried needed some tweaking that I hadn't gotten round to working on. Waiting on busses and trains, I figured out what I might needed to do to them, so when I got home, I tried it, and this morning - on the train, still not getting up early! - I had one scrumptious granolabar for breakfast. I almost felt healthy. And I didn't even have to get up earlier than usual - that's a quality I really dig!
Yes, there's butter and sugar in there, so relatively speaking, they aren't as healthy as a bowl of oatmeal. But hey. You make them yourself, so at least they aren't full of weirdo additives and other ickies as the bought kind may be. Calculating the nutritional info, I got about 270 calories, (about 100 of these from fat), which actually isn't to bad. It's more than a grocery store granolabar, but these are so much better, and I'll eat a homemade one over a storebought one any day. I'm like that.
These are chewy granolabars, rather than crispy, and a bit on the heavy, compact side and not fluffy and light, like some granolabars you buy. What I want is a granolabar that isn't too sticky or buttery, and not too sweet either. These are just about right - I may still try tweaking the amount of sugar/honey, by adding a bit more applesauce as these are a tad on the sweet side, but texturewise, they are the best I've gotten so far. If you have any other ideas on the tweaking, I'm all ears!
170 g. unsalted butter
130 g. runny honey
140 g. sugar
100 g. applesauce
400 g. rolled oats
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
150 g. nuts, dried fruits - I usually use cranberry, raisins and almonds, but have been known to add coconut, hazelnuts and apricots too.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Line a 30 x 20 cm pan (I use a Pyrex dish that we usually use for making lasagna) with parchment.
Melt the butter, honey and sugar in a small saucepan. Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved.
Mix together the oats, spices and nuts and/or dried fruits. Stir in the applesauce, then stir in the melted butter/sugar/honey mixture.
Press into the prepared baking pan - it's okay to give it a firm squeeze, you want it to be rather compact. Bake for 15-20 minutes, untill golden around the edges AND in the middle. I think I tended to bake mine too little, which made for very floppy granolabars - not what I wanted. Once done, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. With a sharp knife (I used to use a serrated knife, but found I got better (i.e. less crumbly) results using a large, sharp knife) cut into bars. I get around 16 bars from this portion.
Enjoy on the train, in the car, with tea, coffee, in the afternoon or in the morning. Just remember to have breakfast, whatever else you choose to do. It is good for you.