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Breakfast Bars Crumbling and Coconut Substitute

Asked by blue-chilli. Answered on 18th February 2014

Full question

Hi there! I made the Breakfast Bars today and they have turned out deliciously! However they are very crumbly and won't stay together. I tried cutting them after 15 minutes as advised and again as they cooled but they just fall apart as soon as a sharp knife goes in. I would very much appreciate any advice you may have. They were just nicely browned at edges and underneath when cooked. Many thanks!

Hi, I am looking for a substitute for coconut for this recipe and I'm not sure adding more nuts and oats will do the trick. Any suggestions? WhiskyGirlCA

Our answer

Nigella's Breakfast Bars (from Nigella Express and on the Nigella website) are made with condensed milk. This should give them a soft, slightly chewy texture rather than a crumble texture. We suspect that if the bars are crumbling then they may have become a little over-baked. The oven temperature of 130c/250F is quite low so the bars should not really take on too much colour. If you have a fan or convection oven then you may need to adjust the temperature downwards a little - please refer to your oven handbook for guidelines. Also check the bars after about 45 minutes - the edges should feel firm but the centre may still be a little soft.

You may also prefer to line the square baking pan with baking parchment (parchment paper), letting some parchment come up and over two opposing sides of the pan. You can then lift the bars out of the pan for easier cutting.

Sweetened shredded coconut gives the bars a extra flavour, but if you want to avoid the coconut then you can omit it completely. Adding extra oats will make the mixture too dry. You could add a few extra mixed nuts and seeds, but not too many as this will change the texture of the bars.

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