Well, just a day after praising Nigella, I’m a bit let down by her Breakfast Bars (p.94, Nigella Express). Granted, she leaves the recipe customizable and I customized just a tad, but they just didn’t compare to the texture and taste of the Big Sur Power Bars I made over the weekend.
Nigella’s recipe appeared overly simplistic and I wondered briefly if I should adjust it. I decided not to render judgment too early. Aside from using blueberries in place of cranberries, I made the recipe as directed. The result is a somewhat bland, slightly sweet, and tough to chew bar. It’s not that it’s hard to chew, it’s that the oats make it so dense. The lack of flavor was a disappointment too, however she does note that they store well and “they seem to get better and better”. I’m not sure how long I should have waited, but it’s now been 48 hours since making them and I’m still not impressed.
Maybe I’m just jaded by the power bars made over the weekend. The texture and flavor were spot-on, and in comparison, far superior. If I were to make Nigella’s breakfast bars again, I might boost the flavor by adding a bit of vanilla to the condensed milk, as well as a bit of cinnamon or other spice. I think this would improve the flavor significantly. Toasting the nuts and seeds ahead of time might also enhance their flavors.
I’m curious if anyone else has tried to make them — please share your results. It’s possible that I’m just being too picky :-)
1 14 oz. can condensed milk
2 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup dried cranberries
I cup mixed seeds (pumpkin, sesame, flax)
1 cup unsalted peanuts
Preheat oven to 250 degrees and oil a 9×13 pan. Warm condensed milk in a pan, then pour over dry ingredients. Stir to even coat, then press into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour. After cooling 15 minutes, cut into 16 portions. When I attempted to cut the bars after 15 minutes, they were too soft and it was a bit messy for a bit. You may want to let them cool a bit longer unless you don’t mind odd shaped chunks.