Following the banana heavy theme from my Banana Bread post, to finish using up my nine blackened bananas I made what I think may be the most tasty thing ever to have come from my kitchen, and it’s all thanks to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I’ve said before how I pretty much idolise him and everything he stands for, and his book River Cottage Everyday has to be one of my favourite cook books, hands down. This time I made his Booster Bars to continue using up the bananas and generally because they look so absolutely scrumptious, and in typical fashion, Hugh delivers another delicious recipe.
These are also wonderfully simple to make, and so so so satisfying when they’re done!! The recipe is as follows:
125g unsalted butter
150g soft brown sugar
75g runny honey
1 orange zest
1 lemon zest
200g porridge oats (not jumbo)
150g mixed dried fruit
150g mixed seeds
1 mashed banana
Melt the butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan on a low heat. I substituted half the honey for golden syrup merely because I ran out of honey, but I think it gave the bars an even more indulgent texture and taste, and would thoroughly recommend it if you have any syrup in the house!
In a separate bowl combine the oats, orange and lemon zest, dried fruit and seeds. I used raisins, chopped dried apricots and chopped dates, along with pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Pour the melted mixture over the oats and fruit and combine thoroughly, mixing in the mashed banana at the end.
Flatten the mix into a lined baking tray and drizzle with a little more honey or syrup if you're feeling indulgent!! Then bake at 180 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until the top begins to go golden.
The next step tested every shred of willpower and self discipline I had, and I almost broke a couple of times: leave in the tray until it has completely cooled!!! It is almost impossible to get the whole thing out of the baking tray when it’s warm (trust me, I tried) so hold back and leave it until it has had time to harden slightly, before tipping out onto a board.
Then comes the fun part, slice into whatever size bars you want, and be sure to devour any crumbs or edges that may not make the final cut!! This recipe is more delicious when freshly baked than a few hours or days later so make the most of it and scarf down whatever falls off the board before anyone else catches on! The ever so slight warmth when they’re fresh allows the orange and lemon zest to really come alive, and the bars have an ever so subtle festive taste to them that reminds me of Christmas…this is definitely a recipe I’ll be digging out in December!
The oats are soft and yielding when you take a bite, contrasted with the crunch of the seeds and the gooey dried fruit chunks. A truly spectacular recipe that is so easy it defies belief, I urge you to throw together a batch – they are perfect for a breakfast on the go, a snack for a boost of energy you need during that mid-afternoon slump (hence the name!!) or just as a treat that thanks to all the fruit and seeds isn’t completely guilt-heavy!!