Chocolate Bran Flake Slice

I’m working on a workshop at the moment to help parents on low incomes pack nutritional lunchboxes. While doing some research I came across a fantastic resource on School Food Trust. They have three-week lunchbox menus and recipes that comply with the strict SFT nutritional standards for primary aged children. There is three sets of menus: low cost, low preperation and¬†vegetarian. I’ve found the menus inspiring and have even tried some of the ideas for myself. These chocolate bran flake slices are the second piece of baking I’ve tried from the resource. I can also recommend the carrot and apricot cakes that appear in the printout. The standards give the advice that packed lunched should include:

  • at least one portion of fruit or veg everyday
  • meat, fish or other source of non-dairy protein everyday
  • oily fish once every three weeks
  • a starchy food everyday
  • a dairy food everyday
Also no:
  • Snacks such as crisps. Instead nuts, seeds, veg, fruit. Savory crackers or breadsticks served with fruit.
  • Confectionary such as chocolate bars, chocolate-coated biscuits and sweets. Cakes and biscuits are allowed, but encouraged only as part of a balanced meal.
  • Highly processed meat products such as pies, corned meat and sausage rolls. Chipolatas can be included occasionally.

As the recipes featured in the pack are based on the nutritional¬†standards you will notice that in this recipe butter is replaced with 60% fat spread. This is to keep both cost and fat content now. I know many people have a frankly snobbish attitude towards using ingredients like low-fat spread.¬†It’s all well and good having wholesome, ‘real’, organic food but it’s worth bearing in mind that there are families out there where these foods are not always¬†available¬†or affordable. I know I’ve spotted the huge hike in ingredient prices and the price of butter has got to the point where I now only use butter in products where will be tasted. Just because an ingredient is compromised, if it helps a child to have a better diet should it matter? These bran flake slices or a piece of¬†confectionery¬†that helps you ‘work, rest and play’? ¬†Ok, I’ll step off my soap box.

As part of the project I have also been looking at the cost and calories of the different dishes. These chocolatey¬†bites come out at a frugal 8p per serving (as of June ’11) and just 136 kcal. The best way I can describe them taste wise is that they are like slightly dry, crumbly brownies. They taste like they should have¬†a great deal more than 136kcal in them! When I came to take photographs of them this morning there was only 7/16 left in the tin. Hubs has been snaffling them, though it is partially my fault as I told him of the surprising calorie content. It is worth trying this recipe as you may be¬†pleasantly¬†surprised.

Chocolate Bran Flake Slice
Makes 16
From School Food Trust

200g 60% fat spread (most light butter spreads are 60%) of course it will work with butter, but will be higher calories.

125g granulated sugar

160g plain flour

40g cocoa powder

100g bran flakes

1) Preheat oven to 180¬įc. Cream the spread and sugar together until it is light and fluffy.

2) Stir in the flour and cocoa powder. The mixture can be quite stiff at this point but keep going until it is well mixed.

3) Fold in the bran flakes.

4) Line a 20cm x 20cm baking tin with baking parchment, then press mixture into the tin.

5) Bake for 35 min or until set.

6) Once cool cut into 16 squared. Store in airtight container.

Just note that these can be quite crumbly so eat over a plate or napkin.

10 thoughts on “Chocolate Bran Flake Slice”

  • Finally a healthy chocolate bar!!!! Sounds great, not so sure about the half fat spread tho… I’d rather stick with a natural ingredient, but I agree with you, cost and calories can’t be overlooked. Lets be honest, we all love a treat and these have got to be much better for you than a supermarkets own brand ‘bars’ any day and much cheaper too!

  • Thank you for a really insightful post- I too read the reality recently that a lot of kids in the UK live in such poverty that food is a luxury and one meal a day the norm. It was written about in a magazine which discussed a forthcoming BBC documentary about the subject. It made me pause for a moment and realise how fortune I am. It’s good to hear the Trust doing such good work.

    • It was partially the news article I saw about the poverty report that made me write this article. I’ve now linked to the BBC article in the blogpost.

  • I like your post for several reasons. The recipe looks yummy and so I’ll try my version of it. Your points about poverty families and the rising cost of ingredients is one of my current concerns. I’m a mostly organic person. I don’t have children to feed and grocery money was never an issue for me – until now. The cost of food in the US is rising rapidly. Advertisers are pushing organic, which I believe to be the ideal. However, in this economy, a growing number of people have difficulty putting food on the table. I do believe that we have to find new ways to look at food, how it is produced, marketed, and consumed. And doesn’t it all come down to balance? No one needs sweets every day but having nothing to give your child because of poverty is a tough thing to explain. Thanks for have a solution to a serious problem. I think if more people were creative about this issue, the prices would begine coming down again because it is all driven by big business greed, and not the reality of ingredients.

  • On a recent BBC R4 Food Programme which was talking about the future of ‘real food’, there was a great deal of discussion about the economics of the shopping basket. A comment was made that ‘real food’ was what ‘we’ (i.e. ordinary people on middle to low budgets) used to eat. It’s sad that something as simple as butter is starting to become unaffordable.
    It’s so hard when looking for a treat for your children when a Mars Bar and a small punnet of fresh raspberries are at the Lidl/ Fortnums and Mason ends of the spectrum.
    Thanks for a thought provoking post and a delicious recipe.

  • I do really worry about the future of the food industry as we all are feeling the pinch of food prices rising significantly. I really worry about the future for the next generation. There are so many people out there who are living on the breadline and it is so important to promote cooking and learning to cook because it is so much cheaper to cook food from scratch. This recipe is a brilliant example of that……

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