Star bars: Four seriously good snack ideas

Our homemade snacks are just the thing for an on-the-go breakfast or mid-morning bite. From chocolate-topped bars with tropical flavour to no-bake fruit-packed nut bars, these easy recipes are ideal for preparing ahead of a busy week.

  1. Cashew and coconut bars

    Ingredients
    1 vegetable oil, for greasing
    150g cashew nuts
    200g dates, stoned
    75g dessiccated coconut
    2 tbsp almond or peanut butter
    1 orange, zested and juiced
    2 tbsp chia seeds
    50g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
    Makes 14 bars

    1. Grease and line a 20.5cm square tin with nonstick baking paper.

    2. In a food processor, blitz the cashews and dates until finely chopped. Add the coconut and blitz again. Add the almond or peanut butter, orange zest and juice, and chia seeds; blitz until the mixture comes together.

    3. Spoon the mixture into the tin, levelling the top and pressing into each corner. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

    4. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of just simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring. Allow to cool slightly, then put in a small piping bag.

    5. Cut the chilled mix into bars and remove from the tin. Pipe the melted chocolate on top of each – it will set quickly. Keep chilled in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

    Tip: Swap dates for ready-to-eat dried apricots if you prefer. 

    Calories 158 (8%), sugar 7g (8%), fat 12g (17%), saturates 7g (8%), salt <0.1g (1%), based on a serving (entire recipe makes 14 bars).

  2. Cranberry and banana flapjacks

    Ingredients
    55g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
    50g dark muscovado sugar
    1 tbsp golden syrup
    2 bananas, peeled and sliced
    225g gluten-free rolled oats
    50g dried cranberries
    Makes 14 bars

    1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Grease and line a 20.5cm square tin with nonstick baking paper.

    2. Put the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan and melt slowly, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat.

    3. Mash the bananas in a bowl, then add them to the syrup mix along with the oats and cranberries. Mix well.

    4. Spoon into the tin, levelling the tip and pressing into each corner. Bake for 18-20 mins until lightly golden.

    5. Cut into bars while still warm, then leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins.

    6. Remove fom the tin and store in a airtight container for up to 5 days.

    Calories 129 (6%), sugar 10g (11%), fat 5g (7%), saturates 3g (13%), salt 0.0g (0%), based on a serving (entire recipe makes 14 bars).

  3. No-bake fruit 'n' nut bars

    Ingredients
    400g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
    40g unsalted butter
    1 tbsp honey
    30g goji berries
    30g dried cherries
    40g pistachios
    40g flaked almonds
    40g dried apricots, diced
    Makes 14 bars

    1. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of just-simmering water, melt the chocolate, butter and honey, stirring occasionally, until smooth.

    2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.

    3. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and stir in two-thids of the fruit and nut mixture.

    4. Spread the mix over the base of an 18cm square tin. Sprinkle over the remaining fruit and nut mix and press into the chocolate. Chill for a least 1 hr.

    5. Cut into bars and keep chilled in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

    Tip: Any dried fruit works well in this recipe, or you could add walnuts for a boost of omega-3 and vitamin E.

    Calories 241 (12%), sugar 13g (14%), fat 17g (25%), saturates 9g (44%), salt 0.0g (0%), based on a serving (entire recipe makes 14 bars).

  4. Super-seedy almond bars

    Ingredients
    vegetable oil, for greasing
    80g almond butter
    50g treacle
    25g dark muscovado sugar
    100g gluten-free rolled oats
    50g linseeds
    50g sesame seeds
    50g pumpkin seeds
    50g sunflower seeds
    Makes 14 bars

    1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Grease and line a 20.5cm square tin with nonstick baking paper.

    2. Put the almond butter, treacle and sugar in a pan and melt slowly over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

    3. Spook the mix into the tin, levelling the top and pressing into each corner. Bake for 19 mins until lightly golden.

    4. Cut into bars while still warm, then leave to cool completely in the tin.

    5. Remove from the tin and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

    Calories 161 (8%), sugar 5g (5%), fat 11g (16%), saturates 1g (7%), salt 0.0g (0%), based on a serving (entire recipe makes 14 bars).