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Homemade granola bars : Sweet, crunchy goodness

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If you are looking for healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth, look no further. These homemade granola bars will do the job - and more.

By making this wholesome snack from scratch, you cut out additives, such as stabilisers, colouring and preservatives, which are found in commercial products.

And yes, vegetarians can enjoy this snack too - in fact, this recipe is suitable for vegans.

Devised by nutrition and fitness expert Mayura Mohta, the recipe uses rolled oats, wheat bran, oat bran, flaxseed meal, raisins and figs.

BBesides fibre, you can also get your dose of iron from these granola bars, thanks to the presence of raisins and figs.

Do not worry if these ingredients do not suit your palate. You can always create your own mix of flavours.

Do this by adding nuts, dried fruit, rice puffs, as well as "superfoods", such as chia seeds and goji berries.

Polyunsaturated fat in nuts and seeds, however, are highly sensitive to heat and can turn rancid when heated, said Ms Mohta, who set up Healthfriend in 2010, a social enterprise that promotes healthy eating habits.

"Once these oils lose their original structure, they are harmful to health when metabolised by the body."

That is why Ms Mohta has avoided liberal use of nuts and seeds in her recipe. "A little bit does not harm," she said. "However, keep in mind that the calorie count will go up with the use of most nuts and seeds."

Some ways to incorporate these ingredients into your granola bars include adding a teaspoon of sesame seeds to this recipe and replacing the bran with finely chopped nuts.

Nuts which are suitable for making this snack include almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts and pecans.

"Chop the nuts finely to ensure the granola bars do not crumble or break," she added.

RECIPE

Homemade granola bars

(Serves 12)

INGREDIENTS

2 tbs butter, at room temperature

2 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

1 tbs wheat bran

1 tbs oat bran

1/2 cup raisin and fig mixture, chopped

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup palm sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp molasses

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Melt the butter in a large non-stick pan and add the rolled oats. Roast at low heat until they are slightly browned. Do not let the oats overheat to a dark brown shade. Remove the oats from the heat and keep aside to cool.

Add the flaxseed meal, wheat bran, oat bran, chopped dried fruits and cinnamon to the oats. Mix well to combine.

In another non-stick saucepan, add the honey, sugar, salt and molasses and cook at medium heat, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil.

Boil it for three to five minutes, stirring constantly. Pour this hot syrup over the oat mixture and mix well to evenly coat the oats. Keep tossing and scraping until the mixture is well combined.

Transfer this granola mixture to an 8-inch by 8-inch deep baking tray lined with baking paper. Press down and evenly spread the mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 180 deg C until the granola gets a nice sheen and is browned along the edges.

Allow the granola mixture to cool slightly and cut them into bars.

Remove the bars from the pan and cool them completely before serving or storing.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(Per serving)

Energy: 120kcal

Sodium: 250mg

Total fat: 4g

Protein: 2g

Dietary fibre: 2g

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