Dried cranberry, chocolate and hempseed no-bake oat bars

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Dear reader.

Wow. In saying those two two words, I can’t believe that I have finally taken the step to entering the blogging world. For a long time I have toyed with the idea and every time I would doubt myself. Would I be able to keep up with the constant content creation? Would my blog be good enough amidst the million of blogs already out there? What would I even say in any of my blogposts?? But I now can say, with full confidence, that the years (yes, it has been years!) of contemplating starting a blog, I am now at the point where I know what I want in my blog, where I would like to go with and what I want to share through it.

But enough with all of my blogging insecurities and non-essential ramblings. Let’s kick this thing off with my favourite thing in the world: chocolate. Well, that and peanut butter…and then I managed to also sneak in some banana. To create some context,  my top choice for my last ever meal would hands-down be a peanut butter and banana sandwich, and that if you ever were to meet me I would probably be travelling with a jar of peanut butter in the bag over my shoulder. (True story: On my month-long trip to Europe last year I sneaked a tub of homemade peanut butter into my suitcase just in case I couldn’t find any upon arrival there. It’s really a flat-out addiction.)

To fulfil all my peanut butter, chocolate and banana-loving dreams, these no-bake bars from the Kale & Caramel blog walked onto my Instagram feed a few weeks ago and straight up I knew I was going to make them. They are originally from the Alternative Baker cookbook where Lily adapted them from…and then I adapted them even a little further. I only had peanut butter in my cupboard (duh!), so I subbed the almond butter with that and a didn’t have cacao nibs. Then, because I my intent with these bars are have them as a pre-workout/hangry snack, I wanted to sub the maple syrup with something a little less sweet and a little  more substance. Thus entered a banana, and it worked a treat!

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Dried cranberry, chocolate and hempseed no-bake oat bars

Adapted from: Kale & Caramel and Alternative Baker cookbook
Makes:
12 bars

INGREDIENTS
For the bars
2 ½ cups 
rolled oats
½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 banana, mashed
Pinch of salt
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup hempseed, finely ground
For the topping
1 tablespoon coconut oil
100g 90% dark chocolate, chopped
Salt, for sprinkling

HOW TO
For the bars
1. Turn the oven to 180C on preheat or grill (for quick toasting).
2. Place the oats and the nuts on a baking tray and into the oven to toast for 10-12 minutes until golden.
3. In the meantime, whisk together the peanut butter and banana until well combined. The banana will make the peanut butter more sticky and less runny, but it will still mix well with the dry ingredients.
4. Add the toasted oats and almonds, as well as the salt, dried cranberries and ground hempseed to the peanut butter mix and use a spatula to combine.
5. Line a 20cm baking tray with baking paper. Pour the the mixture into the tray and press down firmly with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
For the topping
1. Over a double boiler, melt together the coconut oil and the chocolate and stir until smooth. Pour over the oat bars and smooth out to cover. Sprinkle with salt.
2. Place the bars in to the fridge for up to 2 hours to set, remove from the tray and cut into squares. Store in a airtight container in the fridge.

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