Muesli bars, muesli bars, what can I say. I have fought over the sugar laden monsters for years but have regularly given in. Then feel guilty and ungive. Then get lazy and give in again. You know the cycle.....'dad we are the only house we know of that doesn't have muesli bars and fruit juice'! The refrain of, 'you'll thank me for that one day' has generally been lost on them.
So finally (the complainants are now 15 and 17) I have got my act together to create a home-made, 'healthy' version.
The more reading I do, the more I come to the conclusion that whilst the amount of sugar in processed cakes in biscuits is undoubtedly bad, even worse is the cheap polyunsaturated oil that holds the mixture together.
Ultimately this recipe was quite painless. I can see that this can be quite a fun recipe because the range of ingredients you can use is endless really. Already thinking about what I can put in Muesli Bars Mark 11. I threw in some dark chocolate chips to win over the troops in this version. And some candied ginger which added a nice touch.
The final yield was about 750 grams of muesli bar which should last a week.
And because the recipe uses coconut oil and eliminates the excess sugar and puffy cereal bits it is quite filling and satisfying.
Preparation is quite easy. There are some dry ingredients which need to be mixed together and some wet ingredients that are mixed together before coming together ot make the final mixture.
Total preparation time was less than 15 minutes.
The ingredients can be quite flexible and I think one of the joys of this recipe is you can change it slightly every time you make it. For this version I used:
Set the oven on about 160 degrees. The cooking time is fairly crucial because the mixture can turn very hard and burn, very quickly.
Choose the baking tray or pan. I used an eight inch pan which gave a nice thick muesli bar about 2 plus cm deep.
Line the pan with cooking paper.
Process about 1/2 a cup of the oats in the blender. I used the Blendtek Twister Jar and about 15 seconds had the oats ground into a coarse powder.
I put the nuts and dried fruit into the Twister Jar and gave it one or two pulses. A good consistency is some of the nuts reasonably fine ground with others still in larger chunks.
If you are going to add things like dried apricots I would chop them separately. I chopped the crystalised ginger into small pieces. The raisons I added whole. As I did the pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the raisons and chocolate chips into the oats and ground oats. Add the salt, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg or whatever spices you are using
After you have put together the dry ingredients use a separate bowl to combine the wet ingredients.
Combine the nut butter, coconut oil, Wild Kithul Syrup and water.
I made almond butter in the Twister Jar with a handful of almonds. The advantage of the Twister Jar is that you can blend quite small quantities.
Then fold the two set of ingredients together. I used a fork and it looks, as you are doing it, like there will never be enough moisture to hold the mixture together but there will be. Just keep stirring away until the mixture is pretty much evenly spread.
Spread the mixture in your pan and bake for about 30 minutes. The time is crucial. The mixture needs to still be spongy when you take it out of the oven.
If you leave it until it is brown on top you will find that the bottom is overcooked. You really need to remove from the oven when the edges are cooked and the centre is still slightly underdone.
When you remove from the oven let the mixture cool in the pan for about 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes remove to a cake rack and leave until (if you can) it has completely cooled.
You should let it cool completely before cooking otherwise it will crumble.
This is another one of those recipes where, if you taste the mixture before folding into the pan, you know it is going to be good.
Enjoy! A muesli bar that is actually healthy and satisfying!!
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