Nigella’s Breakfast Bars Recipe

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 :-)

Breakfast Bars
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.

You might also like these posts:
Nigella’s avocado and green pea hummus
My take on ‘Big Sur Power Bars’
Payday candy bar treats

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • manggy February 6, 2008, 12:16 am

    Sorry to hear that, Allen… I’m wondering how in the world 14 ounces of condensed milk still come out bland in the end. I would have thought that it would be too sweet. Live and learn..

    Maybe instant oats and eggs would have improved the texture (or remove the oats and seeds). But I don’t think you’ll want to try it again :)

    Re: The bibingka: yeah, I’ve always wanted to try making it, but it will need some research so what I make will be as good as the ones sold in the provinces. Stay tuned ;)

  • Helene February 6, 2008, 1:18 am

    I like the picture. Sorry to hear it was not the best bars.

  • Geggie February 6, 2008, 1:01 pm

    I found you from a comment you made about posting from your iphone. So glad to see that you’re a food blogger. I love you!

    What a disappointment on the bars, I do adore Nigella.

    I’ll be back.

  • Allen of EOL February 6, 2008, 1:01 pm

    manggy — the worst part is that I have alot of them to eat and I don’t want to be wasteful. Maybe I should dip them in chocolate :-) Let me know if you make the bibingka — a good friend of mine is filipina and raved about it. The extent of my filipino cooking is adobo and lumpia (love, love, love lumpia).

    helene — thanks for stopping by. I’m trying to take better pics, so appreciate the comment!

  • Allen of EOL February 6, 2008, 1:06 pm

    geggie: i just went to your blog and noticed you’re trying to post via iPhone too :-) Apparently, my blog host (Blogger) has an issue with posting pics via iPhone to Blogger (@@#@!@#) … *sigh* … oh well, no remote blogging for me, at least not for awhile.

  • Geggie February 6, 2008, 6:58 pm

    Yep, no pictures for me for a while as far as I can tell. That sucks. Maybe I can figure a way to do it from Flickr.

  • Dylan R. Mullins September 9, 2008, 10:19 am

    Just made these on Sunday night to carry me through the week on a shoestring. I have to disagree, and say I think they are really good. Although, I’ve seen some of the stuff you cook, and clearly you have a far more sophisticated palette than I, so perhaps it’s just a matter of being open to anything over here.

    I did actually take your suggestion and add a tbsp. of vanilla extract (not the fake crap either), and 2 tbsp. of cinnamon. The vanilla lingers every couple of bites, while the cinnamon is there to add punch to every bite. The other change I made was to double the recipe to the T (I had a feeling I’d like these), and I only used pumpkin seeds — healthy or not, I don’t want to be eating flax seeds or sesame seeds in my breakfast bars. Something about those two tastes together for breakfast churns my stomach.

    Either way, great recipe, and thanks for sharing!

  • Allen September 9, 2008, 10:33 am

    I’m glad to hear that you liked them! I should probably give them another try sometime – I think the addition of vanilla and cinnamon would help sway me. You give me far too much credit for having a sophisticated palette :-) I just remember these bars tasting kinda ‘blah’.

  • Tracey October 2, 2008, 1:57 am

    I think I can understand why you’re not so keen on them, they can be a bit hard to chew etc, but for me they’re perfect for breakfast – I’ve made them a few times now, more or less following the recipe, and I think they’re yummy, and have just the right balance of flavour (not too much) to go with my tea in the morning. :)

  • Laura September 15, 2009, 3:46 am


    I’ve made these and think they are kind of ok, not the greatest but not the worst either. Will definately try adding cinnamon and vanilla next time. My question is how long can you store them for? I made mine a week ago, would they still be ok to eat?

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