Catering trainees are trying out new recipes that are focused on promoting healthy eating and is a part of the centres effort to promote mental health week and the importance of eating well to keep a good mental and physical health.
2 1/2 cups (230 grams) rolled porridge oats
1/2 cup (80 grams) whole almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (113 grams) honey
1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup (50 grams) packet light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (60 grams) dried cranberries/apricots, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (65 grams) mini chocolate chips
TOAST OATS AND NUTS
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line bottom and sides of a 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil. Then lightly oil or spray with cooking spray.
Add oats and almonds to a small baking sheet then bake 5 minutes, stir and bake another 3 to 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl.
Combine butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves.
Pour butter mixture in to bowl with toasted oats and almonds. Mix well. Let cool about 5 minutes then add cranberries and a 1/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine. (The chocolate chips will most likely melt a little. This is fine, they turn into glue and help to hold the bars together).
Transfer oat mixture to lined pan then use a rubber spatula or damp finger tips to firmly press the mixture into the pan. (Press hard here, this way the bars will stay together once cooled and cut — We press for about one minute to be extra safe).
Scatter remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips over pressed granola mixture then use a rubber spatula to gently press them into the top. Cover then refrigerate at least 2 hours. Remove block of granola mixture from pan then peel away aluminum foil. Cut into 12 bars.
Store bars in an airtight container for up to one week. For the softest bars, keep at room temperature. For slightly harder bars, store in the fridge.