You can find a variety of fruit and oat bars in the baby food aisle in most supermarkets usually nestled in the ready-made finger foods section. I wanted to resist store bought “baby food”, partly because I don’t agree with the term, partly because the food corporations seem to charge more for it simply being labelled as baby food but mostly because I tend to avoid processed and convenience foods in any case.
In the first few days of BLW I had tried making ‘porridge bars’ following the recipe in the “The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook” (Rapley, Murkett) but Little Chickpea took one taste and then simply pushed them to one side. When I tried the bars myself I understood why, even with some dried fruit thrown in they were pretty bland. I figured a home-made version of the fruit packed commercial bars might be better received by Little Chickpea.
The only problem was that I didn’t want to offer very sweet treats to little Chickpea during the early days of weaning in fear that it would cause her to become fussy about eating vegetables and non-sweet foods. Of course I offered fruit which is packed of sugar but only at the end of meals as a dessert/pudding.
I waited until little Chickpea was crawling around before offering these oat bars as snacks. She is now 12 months old and very good at eating all sorts of foods. Plus she runs about everywhere nowadays so I figure the extra sustenance is a good thing! I’m not sure if it was the veggies-first approach that has made Little Chickpea such a good little eater but the science graduate inside me is happy enough with the evidence to think it is probably worth holding out on the sugary snacks just in case!
I hope you enjoy the oaty bars as much as me, Daddy and Little Chickpea do. The topping is optional but it goes a long way in making the bars extra special and it has a really velvety melt-in-the-mouth texture.
Once made these bars should be fine for a week stored in an airtight container but we haven’t made it more than 4 days before someone has eaten the last bar of the batch so I can’t quite confirm… I’ll update you on the result if we ever make it to a week 😉
Enjoy and Happy Weaning! xxx
Ingredients (makes 24 bars):
For the base:
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 12 dates (dried and pitted)
- 300g oats
- 2 large ripe bananas
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 6 dates (dried and pitted)
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 50g cacao butter
- Preheat the oven to 180oC and grease and line a baking tin with baking parchment (I used a 12″ x 9″ tray-bake tin)
- Melt 3 tbsp coconut oil in the microwave.
- Put the bananas, dates and melted coconut oil in a food processor and blitz until you get a smooth runny blend.
- In a large bowl combine the mixture from the food processor with the oats and stir well.
- Teem the contents of the bowl into the baking tin and spread out to fill the base of the tin. Using the back of a spoon smooth and flatten out the mixture to create an even surface.
- Put in the oven for 10 min during which time you can prepare the topping. Remember to leave the base in the tin when you remove it from the oven.
For the topping melt the cacao butter in a heat-resistant bowl over a pan of boiling water and stir in the finely chopped dates and the tahini.
- Pour the topping over the base and leave to cool.
- Once the topping has set remove the bake from the tin and cut into bars.