You know the downside of having an addiction to baking? The fact that there is always delicious and fattening treats in the house, calling my name. I am all too aware that the winter has left me carrying a little more weight than I would like and the warmer weather means I am starting to think it is time to shift those extra pounds before I am required to go out without a cardigan to hide my lumpy bits. Luckily I love anything with salad, so I find making my main meals healthier fairly straightforward, but I do have a sweet tooth – so am always looking for healthier ways that I can still indulge myself. Hence these Chocolate and Salted Pretzel Squares:-
These squares are not low calorie, nor completely sin free – but they are much healthier than the traditional flapjack type thing, with less than half the butter, half the syrup and no sugar at all. The sticky sweetness is mostly provided by dates, and if I had left out the chocolate chips they would be even healthier. But I like a chocolate chip – so they went in! The dates give the squares a delicious gooey texture, and the pretzels add a nice bit if crunch – plus some saltiness, I do love a sweet and salty combo!
- 150g rolled oats
- 150g medjool dates (pitted)
- 75g choc chips
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 50g butter
- 1½ tbsp of golden syrup
- tablespoon of water
- 100g nuts, seeds, dried fruit of choice
- 50g of pretzel broken into small pieces, plus 16 extra whole ones for topping
- Pop the butter and syrup into a saucepan over a low heat to allow them to melt together.
- Chop the dates into small pieces, and add to the butter/syrup mix. Allow to cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, so that the dates melt into the mix. After a few minutes add a tablespoon of water and the cocoa powder and stir in well. Cook until the dates have almost dissolved into a nice gooey mix - but don't worry if there are still a few lumps. This took about 10 minutes for me.
- In a large bowl stir together the oats, chocolate chips, pretzel pieces and the nuts/seeds/fruits you have chosen.
- Pour in the date/butter mix, and combine well.
- Press firmly into a lined brownie tin, and top with the whole pretzels, pushing them into the top of the mix.
- Chill for at least an hour before cutting into bars or squares with a sharp knife.
I used a combination of pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and raisins in my mix – the seeds are so packed with nutrition and add a lovely flavour – but you could choose any combo of your favourite dried fruit and nuts. You could chop these into 8 bars, but I went for 16 squares, and actually they are very rich so that was enough for me at a time. (I lie, on at least one occasion I still managed to eat two – but I am a greedy madam, for most people one would be enough!). And OK, these aren’t going to see the pounds falling off me – but they are a great improvement on my usual flapjack/granola bar style offerings – the dates and seeds ensure they offer good nutritional benefits and the oats mean they should offer a bit of slow release energy too. And you know what, I am never going to be seen in a bikini again, so who cares?! 😉
Love Miss Cisco XXX