Saturday, February 13, 2016

Hafraklattar (Icelandic-style Granola "Bars")

I am a grazer. Although I do not skip meals, I usually have smaller meals and have snacks through the day. When we visited Iceland over the fall, I was no different. Whenever I have a chance, I would stock up on nuts, fruit like apples or bananas (lemons too), dark chocolate or breakfast items. Also since I really cannot enjoy buffets anymore (doctor’s orders), I usually have something handy in the event that I cannot find an appropriate breakfast… or lunch. Plus, I love trying out the local treats.

Hafraklattar with coffee
Yum! Morgunverður með kaffi - Breakfast with coffee.
I believe I bought my first hafraklattar in my first day in Reykjavik.  This hafraklattar from Matarkistan seems to meet all the criteria of a light breakfast or a big snack: portable and quick. Most importantly, it looks somewhat healthy although I do not know what the ingredients are… yet. It took me a couple of days for the jet lag to pass and consult Google Translate - on my phone - to figure out what is in it. Thank goodness WiFi was everywhere (even on the buses).  I did find out later that hafraklattar was relatively healthy: made with oats, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, apple sauce, butter and sugar. All were organic too.

Now that I am back at home but mentally still in Iceland…my mission is to replicate what I enjoyed in Iceland. Obviously, the bars in Reykjavik became my reference of what hafraklattar should look like: square and bar-like, much like a brownie. However, in my research, I found that these are actually normally round like a cookie. 

Hafraklattar Ingredients
Ingredients: Relatively Healthy!
Also, I had to interpret the recipes that I did find because Google cannot translate everything perfectly. As an example, one of the instructions in the recipe translated to “Butter and sugar mix well”. Since I remember that the hafraklattar in Reykjavik was soft, I decided that it would be better to cream the butter and sugar mixture.

Also, since I am trying to have more gluten-free food – I used GF flour for this recipe. I really was not too sure about spelt flour, which is what most of the recipes called for. So, I just used a combination of oat flour and rice flour. I also tried to cut down on the butter and substituted half (about 1/4 cup) with unsweetened applesauce. The ingredient list in Matarkistan used applesauce, so I was encouraged. However, I was not sure what the proportions were. My test ratio, surprisingly, worked out very well. 

Here’s what I have so far. Why don't you give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Hafraklattar (Icelandic-style Granola Bar)
Based on a recipe from by Auður Karitas Þórhallsdóttir
Makes about 9 cookies

  • 3/4 cup gluten-free flour (I used 2/4 cup of oat flour and 1/4 cup of rice flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 cup soft butter, room temparature
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg

  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate (optional)

  1. Preheat oven at 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs in a bowl.
  4. Fold in applesauce.
  5. Fold in dry ingredients to wet.
  6. Mix oatmeal and if using, the chocolate and raisins.
  7. Created balls the size of tomatoes and slightly flat out (I used an ice cream scoop).
  8. Bake at 375 F for about 13-15 mins.
  9. They should be a little soft when they are taken out, but harden as they cool.


I really like this "bar". It actually has a consistency of a cookie – so I feel like I am having cookies for breakfast. Unlike a cookie, this is also quite filling. I am finding that a cookie and a half is more than enough. I may make smaller ones next time.

Hafraklattar - Homemade

I may try to change the add-ins next time, maybe use dried blueberries, cherries, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, or nuts… definitely add nuts... I am nutty that way. Also, I may make a crunchier version. No butter creaming, just melt it – or use coconut oil. But that may not be considered hafraklattar anymore.

Hafraklattar Breakfast

Also, I am not sure what Hafraklattar translates to. All I know is it is an Icelandic-style granola bar/cookie. I hope some of you can shed some light to it.