Rice flake (poha) cereal bars with cardamom and cinnamon flavour, barely sweetened, for when you get tired of oats for breakfast.
There must be something appealing about eating things that taste like sawdust, otherwise Weetabix would never take off.
What to do with rice flakes?
I’ve had a large bag of rice flakes in my cupboard for ages; thankfully those things have long use-by dates as long as you keep them tightly closed and dry (you don’t want to know what happens otherwise).
I bought them to make a mix of flakes with oats, barley and wheat for my overnight oats bowl. It turned out not such a good idea: rice flakes are too crunchy and tasted like grit in the bowl. But surely crunch is a good thing in right circumstances? And so it is.
Fibre for breakfast
The wonderful thing about breakfast foods is that we accept a lot as long as we tell ourselves it’s healthy. Weetabix is the case in point: honestly, it’s hideous, but eating it makes you feel like you’re doing your health a massive favour.
All that fibre! Massaging your gut! Roughage and protein! Of course I’m not denying Weetabix its benefits, but the fact remains that it isn’t the nicest thing ever to eat for breakfast.
And so my idea of breakfast rice biscuits took root. Rice flakes are a good source of fibre but they are carbohydrates so not as virtuous as oats but there is also a lot to say for variety.
Rice flake breakfast biscuits
Adding ground almonds and a little flour is essential to produce cohesive dough but I almost entirely skip sugar, adding only some maple syrup to make these things taste better than said sawdust. Cardamom and cinnamon are gorgeous to flavour the bars and the lick of jam as topping is completely optional.
I found these bars quite addictive – it must be the crunch/sawdust factor. Crunching and munching through two or three with a large mug of coffee comes really easily, and they might be carbs and low in protein but they keep me happily full till lunchtime.
Easy to make into vegan
They are a trifle to make: wet into dry ingredients, the only effort is melting the butter beforehand. I have not tried using coconut oil instead as I’m not a fan, but it sounds like not bad an idea. And while on the subject, for a vegan version of the bars you can replace the egg with half a small, mashed banana.
The mix at the proportions given below bakes best in a small baking tray, about 23 x 16cm or similar, lined with parchment. But by all means make twice the amount in a standard baking tray, because these rice bars keep exceedingly well for well over a week.
More breakfast bars recipes
Oats and dried fruit breakfast bars are much more indulgent and obviously gorgeous by it, so once you’ve made a batch, go easy.
Baked buttermilk oatmeal is one giant bar baked in a gratin dish and best eaten straight out of it – that’s why I make it usually in individual ramekins.
There is flapjack, the ultimate oats confection and my favourite flavour is orange and ginger.
There are scones of various kinds; and for breakfast rather than cream tea my preferred choice will be simple buttermilk scones cut in wedges, with or without raisins; in the latter version split and buttered lavishly.
And there are muffins – but that’s a story that goes a fair distance from healthy, nutritious and virtuous…