Saturday, February 16, 2013

Baby's Oat Bars

I have been asked for this recipe more times than any recipe EVER. And I've only been making these for a few months now! If you do not currently have any progeny to feed, don't let the title fool you. These are not just for baby. They are so good. And very healthy! I should re-name them "Power Snacks for Hikers, Bikers and Skiers." It just doesn't have the same ring.

I must admit. I'm blogging about these mostly so that I can stop forwarding the same email to other moms over and over again. I can just give them this link! But this is a recipe to make and to share. It makes a ton of bars, they freeze very well, and they are the perfect, healthy on-the-go snack. Most importantly, every baby loves them. (Well, except when you give them as a snack for three days running, like I did... toddlers, well, at least my toddler, demands var-ie-ty!)

These are a riff on the popular British sweet snack "flapjacks." If you are reading this stateside you might wonder - aren't flapjacks just pancakes? And well, yes, they are over there, but over here, they are mightily delcious, cloyingly over-sweet bars comprised only of oats, butter and a disgusting, very sweet, very sticky syrup called "golden syrup."  (Very similar to our modified corn syrup; they both have sugar molecules chemically altered to make it taste sweeter.) The end result is that flapjacks are actually very delicious, but very, very bad for you. I am working on a way to make sweet flapjacks that do not use any chemically-altered sweeteners, but the only way I can find to make the oats bind together without using golden syrup is to use eggs, like these savory ones do.

While these flapjacks may not sate your sweet-tooth, they will fill you up with wholesome oaty and veg-y goodness! I hope you and your family enjoy this one!

Baby's Oat Bars (aka Savory Flapjacks)
adapted from The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook

I usually use 200 grams grated carrot and 100 grams grated sweet potato. A friend has used grated apple but her bars fell apart, so I would use caution if attempting to substitute a fruit or vegetable with more water content. If you are making these for adults, feel free to use salted butter, and to experiment wildly with different cheeses. For babies, I use half mild cheddar, half mozzarella. Use a very, very large mixing bowl (unless you are not adding vegetables.) I have to use a specialty 7-litre bad boy that I picked up at my favorite store in the world, but a large pasta pot would work too. Also, do not use a mixed-grain porridge. Oats only!

100 grams (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter
300 grams porridge oats (quick rolled oats are fine)
350 grams grated cheese
200-300 grams grated firm vegetables such as: carrot, sweet potato, zucchini (courgette), red onion, parsnip
2 large eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 10x15(ish) jelly-roll pan (swiss roll tin). Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.

Place your very large mixing bowl on a scale and grate in your vegetables. Zero out, and measure and add the oats, then the cheese. Mix all this together well (hands work best!) Pour in the slightly cooled butter and mix well. Stir in the eggs and mix well.

Turn out the mixture onto the greased pan; press and mould it down evenly.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly, the edges are slightly brown and the veggies are cooked. Let cool for 5 minutes then cut into squares. Then let cool completely before removing the squares. (They will break apart if you try to do this when warm.)

One batch makes about 30 small bars. These freeze very well.

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