Spicy Oat Bars—a healthier alternative to flapjack

14 June 2013

Written by Jennie Bayliss


Spicy Oat Bars are a healthier alternative to flapjack. It’s true they aren’t anywhere as sweet, nor sticky or gooey, but they do satisfy a sweet craving without spiking your sugar levels.


Makes 8 or 9 bars

  • 15 g of coconut oil (ideally virgin, old pressed: at room temp in the UK, coconut oil is solid)
  • 3–6 green cardamom pods (optional – but worth effort as it gives great flavour)
  • 1 slightly rounded teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 dessertspoons of pure maple syrup
  • 200 g old-fashioned porridge oats
  • 50 g dried dates (not glucose coated) or sun-dried apricots (without preservatives) chopped
  • 15 g dried goji berries (if not available, increase dates/apricots to 60 g)
  • 30 g pumpkin seeds
  • 20 g sunflower seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (optional)
  • 15 g raw almonds roughly chopped (you can substitute with pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts)
  • 500 ml water


Heat oven to gas mark 6 or 200°C. If needed, line your 7–8″ (approx. 200 cm) cake/baking tin with parchment paper. I use a tin that is 7 x 12″ and I just fill one end. You can also use a loaf tin. Weigh/measure the oat, seeds, dried fruit and nuts. Put into a bowl and mix together.
Slice top off cardamom pods and remove the brown/black seeds inside. How many seeds you will find in any particular cardamom pod is unpredictable: there may be just 1 or 2 or as many as 6. If the first ones you open only have a few seeds, use a few more pods. Put the seeds into a mortar, and using a pestle, grind the seeds into a coarse powder.
In a medium saucepan, melt the coconut oil. Add ground cardamom and cinnamon and allow to sizzle in the oil for 30 seconds to bring out the flavour. Add the maple syrup and mix. Now pour the oat, seed, fruit, nut mixture to the pan and mix thoroughly. If you have made flapjacks before, note the oil and syrup won’t coat all of the oats: none-the-less, mix it well. Now add the water and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring all of the tin until the excess water has been absorbed and the mixture is now gooey and thick. Pour the mixture into your tin, and smooth it into shape with a wooden spoon. Place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes (loaf tin takes longer).
Remove the spicy oat bars from the oven. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then with a knife, mark out 8 or 9 bars. Allow to fully cool then lift it out from the tin. When you newly begin to cook treats like this, if they are left in your kitchen, they are likely to end up in your tummy! So as soon as they are cold, freeze what you don’t wish to eat on the day of making them.
Eat Well—Be Well 🙂

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