If you are like me, a regular patron at NTUC, you will know that cranberries are in season now.
I was on my regular grocery run and had my trolley packed with the usual fruits and vegetable when I saw a Caucasian lady pushing a trolley packed with cranberries.
Okay, I know that cranberry juice is good for urinary tract infection. My 4 year old loves cranberry bread and dried cranberry snacks are healthier than raisins. That’s about all, fresh cranberries, I have never tried them. But since someone is willing to load a trolley full of cranberries, it must taste good. So the ‘kiasu’ me decided to do the same. I lugged home 4 bags of cranberries.
To my dismay, the cranberries taste nothing like the fruits I usually buy. They were sour, bitter and not at all juicy. They were nothing like the dried cranberry snacks that my kids love to munch on and it made me wonder how they extract juice from this tarty little fruit. Great, now what should I do with my 4 bags of cranberries ?!
As usual, I googled. Thankfully, Martha Stewart has a whole list of recipes for fresh cranberries. But I was feeling ambitious and wanted something healthier than what the domestic goddess had to offer, preferably something with no added sugar.
Most of the recipes called for dried cranberries which are already sweetened. It took me a while before I found this. Now, this looks like the kind of super duper breakfast or snack that I wouldn’t feel guilty munching on. And better still if my kids would eat them for breakfast. I love granola bars but it is almost impossible to find something off the shelf that doesn’t contain ingredient that I can’t pronounce.
What I love about this recipe is that it is totally flourless! In its place is rolled oat, ground to a powder form. Besides that, this recipe also uses chia seed and coconut oil instead of your regular butter. I add chia seeds into my fruit blend every morning, but I have never tried baking with them.
I wasn’t so sure about using agave nectar as sweetener, since it is still controversial whether agave nectar is indeed a ‘healthier’ sweetener as compared to honey and sugar. So instead of agave nectar, I blended an apple with 1/3 cup of water and used it for sweetener since the original recipe also called for applesauce. And I really like the idea of using applesauce as sweetener, so totally natural.
All in all, the modified recipe looks almost too healthy to be tasty. So to make sure my kids would eat them, I substituted the shredded coconut with dark chocolate chips!
My 5 year old loves it anyhow, cos he loves anything chocolatey. His elder brother with his more discerning taste bud wasn’t so fond of my creation. He was obliging enough to have some for breakfast and snack and I am happy that he get loads of fibre out of them.
As for me, these are the perfect energy bar for me to munch on while on the go. I can’t say I ate them totally guilt free, because of the chocolate chips. So for my next bake, I would probably take out the chocolate chips and add more nuts instead.
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (approx 1.5 lemons)
- 1.5 cups regular oats, ground into a flour into a blender
- 1/2 cup regular oats (not ground)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup semi sweet dark chocolate chips + additional for sprinkling (optional)
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (made by blending 1 apple with 1/3 cup of water)
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup almond (chopped)
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 175 degC. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, mix together the chia seeds and lemon juice. Set aside to gel up while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Take your 1.5 cup of oats and blend till flour form
- In a medium bowl, mix together the oat flour, baking powder, 1/2 cup regular oats, sea salt, lemon zest, fresh cranberries, chopped almond, and chocolate chips.
- In another small bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, applesauce. Mix in the gelled up chia seed mixture until combined.
- Add wet to dry and stir well until blended. Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan and spread out smoothly with a spatula. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top before baking.
- Bake for about 20 minutes at 175 deg C until golden around the outer edge.
- Cool in pan for about 10 minutes before transferring onto plate. Cut into squares and enjoy.