As someone who always (muffled, between bites) insists to everyone else that chocolate actually really does have its health benefits, I got quite excited about this challenge. Think of these bars as a flapjack, crossed with a Rice Krispie cake, studded with little orange morsels of sweet, dried apricot and then drizzled with 72% cocoa Belgian chocolate. You need a little bitterness with those apricots in there, and it's better for you too. I got the idea of using Rice Krispies and oats together from a recipe by Cookin Diva. And it really makes the bars so light to eat.
The chewy syrup that holds everything together is made with honey instead of golden syrup, contains no butter, and has a good dollop or three of almond butter - less fatty than peanut butter. And before the chocolate could set, I scattered over some chopped pistachios - mostly because I like the vivid green against that dark chocolate, but also because I like their nutty, creamy crunch. There's no real cooking either - just heat up the syrup in a small saucepan - and then combine the ingredients and press into a tin to set. I hope you enjoy.
Chocolate Fruit and Nut Crisp Bars
Cuts into about 20-24 squares
- 100g Coco-Pops, or other chocolate crisped rice cereal
- 200g rolled oats
- 160g dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
- 25g light brown sugar
- 120ml runny honey
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 100g almond butter
- 60g good quality dark chocolate (I used 72% cocoa solids)
- Line a square brownie tin with greaseproof paper, so that is covers the base and comes up the sides too. This will help you lift the finished cake out.
- In a large bowl, combine the Coco-Pops, rolled oats and dried apricots and stir to mix.
- In a saucepan, pour in the honey, sugar, vanilla essence and almond butter and bring to a gentle boil over a medium heat. Stir to combine. When it starts to boil, turn off the heat.
- Pour the hot syrup mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well. At first, it will seem as if it won't combine, but keep stirring and it will.
- Tip out into your prepared, lined tin. Press down well with the back of a spoon or your spatula so it has an even surface and is densely packed. Leave to one side in a cool place (30 minutes or so) until set.
- Melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cake. Just a drizzle here and there is what you're after, nothing too thick. Scatter over the chopped pistachios. Leave to cool until the chocolate is set.
- Cut into bars and serve.