non toxic toddler treat (terrific)

Remember this?  I’d rather forget it – the supposed “healthy” fruit bar for babies, with the ingredient list that reminded me of a trashy romance novel (read: pretty long, quite unbelievable not to mention utterly ridiculous).

So here we have it, the much anticipated fruity bar that is approved by both baby (Misty) and Mum (Lou).  Boosty stole one – she ate it right up, and seemed to enjoy it – but we won’t value her opinion too highly, as Boosty has been known to eat other dog’s poo.   If you’re serious about what you feed your kiddies like me, than you are probably willing to go the extra distance and make these – I’ve tried to explain the steps to the recipe as clearly as possible, but don’t hesitate to contact me if you run into trouble.  I’m still getting used to writing down and recording my recipes, so let me know if I typing all crazy-like.

If you don’t have kids  (stop booing me and my boring baby food experiments) because I have promised a recipe for those with a slightly more advanced palette at the end of the post.  Anyway, these would make a great (and useful) gift for anyone you know with little ones – especially those with food intolerances (and you would look like the bestest and most nutritionally savvy friend EVER).

Friendly Fruit Bars:

These are very allergy friendly: nut, seed, and egg free.  Gluten free iF you use certified GF oats.  Soy free if you use a milk other than soy to glaze with.  Dairy free if you use a non dairy milk and so on.

3/4C + 1T rolled oats

1t cinnamon

3T apple puree

4-5T dried fruit – either chopped very finely or pulsed in a food processor.  I used raisins this time, but a date and apricots mix were great in the first batch.

Milk to glaze (soy/dairy/almond, whatever)

I whizzed up the oats in a food processor first to a meal texture.  I then added the 3T apple puree and cinnamon, and pulsed until it formed a very wet kind of sloppy ball (yummy).

Let the dough rest and chill for at least 1 hour – this give the oats time to soak up some of the moisture and morph into a more workable dough.

Once your dough has rested, give it a good squeeze together.  It will seem kind of crusty, but a little knead will bring it back from the darkside.   You don’t want the dough too wet, or you won’t be able to roll it; too dry and it will crack and fall apart.  It’s all about balance.

Divide the dough in half, and then half again.

Get your little bar-production station set up.  I find a damp tea towel underneath a chopping board works to stop the board from moving when you roll.  There is a technique with being successful in this endeavour – your enemy  is any kind of moisture, once your dough or rolling pin becomes even a tiny bit wet, the dough will start to stick, which will make you angry.  I can see you shaking your fist at the computer screen and cursing me now – ‘stupid Lou and her stupid BARS.’  Trust me, it will work, you just have to be a bit clever about it.

Basically you need to roll the dough quickly and firmly.  Roll once, putting as much pressure on the pin as possible, pick up the dough, flip it over, and roll again.  Keep repeating this, and moving the dough a quarter turn in between flipping it over (in circles).  This keeps the dough moving, and the possibility of it sticking and ripping is lessened.  It might take a few times to get the knack, but it will happen – it’s good to get used to dealing with doughs, it’s all about the handling.

Each dough ball should get you 2 bars – you can either squish up the trimmings and make another bar, or do what I do, and make it into a little pattie.  Chuck it in the oven with the bars, and you have a little oaty cake (yummy with sunflower butter on top!)

Spread 1/2t of your dried fruit mix onto the dough (I put some 3T coconut in with my raisins at the pulsing stage for a bit of texture).  Fold over and pinch dough together firmly.  Shape with your hands.

You may notice the dough getting a few cracks in it at this stage, don’t stress - breathe – it’s just dough.  Get yourself a little bowl with 1/4C milk in it (I used soy, any kind will work).  Using your finger tips, dab the bars with the milk.  This will seal up the cracks and give the bar a little glaze.

Bake at 200 degrees C on a lined baking tray for 8-10 minutes, depending on your oven.  Peek in a few times, and flip the bars to ensure even cooking.  Cool on a wire rack.  Store in an airtight container (not sure how long they last for, as Misty eats the whole batch in a few days).  I keep them in the fridge as it’s pretty humid where we are.

Yes, they look a little like cigars.  Yes, that is an ashtray (it has never seen a lit ciggie, so it’s all perfectly innocent).  I collect groovy old ashtrays for some reason – they make great little dishes.  Is that so wrong?  I suppose it’s kind of like these:

I used to LOVE these lollies.  I felt so cool.  Loser.

Anyway, these bars are intended for babies.  I mean that in the sense they contain no added salt, sugar or nasties.  So, they aren’t the most flavourful bars I have ever tasted.  They taste nice, but I’m not doing the mouth party dance about them.  Misty, however, is a big fan  – I originally made them with a touch of baking powder, but I took it out, as honestly, they don’t need it.  These are soft enough for a gummy wonder to enjoy as well as old man chompers.  They also hold their shape – the batch that included baking powder were a bit soft and no match for Misty’s vice-like grip.  He has eaten 3 in 20 minutes. Piggy.

If you guys are interested in a recipe that uses the same basic concept (but is super dooper quick and easy, no rolling pins involved) I do have one up my sleeve.

I came up with a muesli bar idea that was pretty popular in a cafe I used to run in Melbourne.  It uses the same dough concept as these baby bars, but stacks more flavour and texture (oh, and salt, amazing how much difference a little salt makes)  Viper used to call them “Hobbit Food,” as apparently they were so filling and satisfying he reckoned they would be ideal on a lengthy mission into the depths of Mordor.  Geek.

muesli bar, anyone?

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About Lou

I'm a stay at home Mum, recipe book addict who can't stick to a recipe to save my life.

13 responses to “non toxic toddler treat (terrific)”

  1. Emmy (Wine and Butter) says :

    I’m just catching up on blogs after a period mega business doing research and homework for my course. I LOVE the look of the black beans cakes and Im crazy about mango salads – ahve you ever had mango & sweetcorn salsa with chili and fish – SOOOOOOO good!! im a bit less crazy about museli bars that arent v sweet – terribe i know! I just once ate like 3 of them and then I felt really weird and Ive now ascertained I only really like them with either COPIOUS dates or some maple syrup. Obv Im going to try to ensure my kids have a less sweet tooth than me, so theyll be great for them! :). xox

    • Lou says :

      oh my golly gosh, mango and sweetcorn with chilli and fish sounds totally wicked knickers. Only thing that could make it better would be eating it on the beach in Thailand with some kind of amazing tropical fruit and vodka cocktail (ah one can dream…) I think all babies like sweet, (apparently breast milk is quite sweet, I wasn’t game enough to try it though!) it’s just getting them used to the right KIND of sweet ie fruit etc not just white sugar! Viper is very fussy with his muesli bars – he complained they were TOO sweet in the first trials (the ones I made with honey) so if you are after something healthy but still sweetie yum yum, I think Trial #1 would be right up your alley. I like sweet, especially dried fruit – I eat far too much of the stuff. Hope your course stuff is going well x

  2. Heather Eats Almond Butter says :

    Yay – been looking forward to this one Lou. Just need to get some dried fruit and we’ll be good to go. I’m pretty sure HEABlet will love. Thanks so much!

    • Lou says :

      Once you get the knack of rolling the dough they are SO easy to make (and so cheap compared to buying them!) So much potential for flavour variations too, adding ground nuts would be yummy. An all-fruit spread would work in place of the dried fruit (like the Dalfour jams) :)

  3. Heather Eats Almond Butter says :

    P.S. Used to love those candy cigarettes. Remember how the dusty sugar used to kind of “puff” like smoke. Crazy that they used to sell stuff like that. Could you even imagine a company coming out with something like that for kids nowadays?

    • Lou says :

      I know! So funny, me and my sister would always buy those candy cigarettes and think we were SO tough. It’s like when doctors used to PRESCRIBE ciggies, so so crazy :)

  4. Hannah says :

    Hurrah! The recipe! I really like the sound of apricots here :)

    • Lou says :

      Yeah, the first time I made it with apricots+ dates and it was yum. Well, as yum as a no salt-no sugar-no butter- no eggs -no nuts bar can be! A good snack for the little ones, but a bit boring for those of us with slightly more advanced taste buds! I’m going to post my bar recipe that uses the same concept though – hopefully on Monday after a trip to the bulk foods store :)

  5. Denise says :

    This is a recipe that I will definitely be trying for my son, as I will not buy any of the ‘frankenstein’ ones at the supermarket. I could so see these with a coconut rough filling in the middle ;-)

    • Lou says :

      It’s quite frightening some of the “healthy” baby products that are out there – full of numbers and additives – not to mention expensive! mmm coconut rough, totally sounds delish… so many flavour possibilities! I was thinking of doing a batch with some ground up nuts (MIsty is fine with nuts, no signs of any allergies, yay) carob, walnut and prunes maybe? Yay, thanks for reading :)

  6. Danielle Lorkin says :

    Looking forward to making these for my little one and trying the ‘adult’ version when you post it. Would rolling the dough between baking paper help with avoiding moisture? :)

    • Lou says :

      Yeah, that would probably help – good idea! I always seem to go down the most difficult route :) Yeah, the adult ones are a lot more exciting – me and Misty are adventuring to the bulk food store today to obtain supplies.

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