A US blog that I follow, Super Healthy Kids, posted a version of a healthy cereal bar. Inspired, I went to our local supermarket to investigate our Aussie equivalent (fruit filled bars / K-Time bars) and I agreed that there is much to be said about lengthy ingredient lists with lots of numbers in them. So, I decided to take some of the advice from the comments on their blog & create an Aussie version of this cereal bar.
I decided that I wanted to use some fresh seasonal fruit and make sure the filling was thick so I didn’t have problems filling the parcels. I opted for a dairy-free cherry & chocolate filling. You could add coconut essence or desiccated coconut if you wanted a “cherry ripe” type of flavour too.
My toddler loved these bars. However, I did make them the typical cereal bar size which is still a bit big for her. Next time, I would make fun-size versions. The size of the food you offer to your children is really important. Their first sensory input can be sight. They see something and immediately start motor planning how they are going to approach it. If they decide the motor planning task is too much for them to handle, the food will be resisted.
Cherry and Chocolate Cereal Bars (makes 7 bars)
Cereal Bar Dough:
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 cups wholemeal flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup natural bran
- 1 cup deseeded & chopped fresh cherries
- 1/2 cup dates
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
Preheat your oven to 180oC and line a baking tray with baking paper. Boil the kettle. Soak your fresh cherries and dates together in boiled water. Use a plastic bowl for soaking as you have to puree them later. In the meantime, in one bowl, combine the honey and coconut oil (you may need to melt the coconut oil if it is not already liquid) and then add the egg and vanilla bean paste. In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients to it. Work the dough into a ball with your hands. Roll the dough out until it is 1/2 cm thick and cut into 9 cm x 9 cm squares – you should get 7 squares. Note: It is best to work with this dough fresh as it will crumble more if left to dry out for too long.
Drain your dates and cherries and puree with a hand stick blender. Add the cocoa powder – taste the mixture now to make sure it has the balance you like. You may want to add some honey for extra sweetness or extra cocoa for bitterness.
To each square add about 2 tablespoons of mixture along one side and then fold the dough over. You may notice a little bit of cracking. Smooth it over if you want, however, these bars do look “rustic” (even the commercial bars have little cracks in them).
Place them on your lined tray and into the oven for 15mins. These should keep well at ambient temperatures & stay soft in an airtight container for up to 3 days or refrigerate if you want to store them for up to 1 week.