Whether you call them granola bars or muesli bars, the fact is that many companies make millions off these bars of natural pure energy. An easy breakfast or mid-morning snack, they are the perfect treat for anyone on the go, and a wonderfully compact energy boost when you feel yourself running out of steam.
However, have you SEEN what they charge for these little suckers? I recently bought some ‘natural’ ones (how natural can they be when you don’t recognize half the listed ingredients) at the supermarket at $7 for a packet of 6 tiny bars – an utter rip off, if you ask me! For that price, I could easily make five times that amount and – even better – I could put in whatever I wanted!
In fact, thinking about it more, I wondered just exactly why I’d never made them myself!
Well, the answer is pretty obvious – convenience is the culprit! Growing up with my mother throwing the odd Uncle Toby’s muesli bar into my lunchbox, I just associated them as one of those things people bought but didn’t make…which is silly, really. I mean, I practically make my own everything else, so it’s a pretty poor reason. With that in mind, I hit my cookbooks and found a recipe for ‘real’ muesli bars in Bill Granger’s ‘Every Day‘ cookbook. It looked pretty great, except for one thing – they looked butt ugly and the ratios were (in my opinion) not the tastiest.
So, doing what I do best, I wrote down the basic recipe and hit the internet for inspiration. Browsing a few other recipes to look at ratios, I scribbled notes and jumped into the kitchen to start my first ever journey into homemade muesli bars.
As for the result? Well, not to blow smoke up my own arse but they’re a damned sight better looking than Bill’s, and the family devoured almost the entire lot in a week!
So if you love your muesli bars, I implore you to give these a try – for just a little effort, not only can you control what goodness you put in, but also have the added benefit of the chemicals you’re leaving out!
Pick-me-up muesli bars
(inspired by Bill Granger’s muesli bars in Every Day)
320g rolled oats
1/3cup plain flour
100mL vegetable oil
200g mild honey (try 100g honey and 100g golden syrup for a deeper flavour)
50g brown sugar
2-3 tbsp smooth peanut butter (if you’re allergic to peanuts, this can be replaced with any other nut butter, or even just omitted)
40g desiccated coconut
150-200g of assorted nuts and seeds (I used pepitas, sunflower seeds, pecans and almonds)
150-200g assorted dried fruit (I like apricots, sultanas, cranberries and dried pineapple)
If you prefer a crunchy rather than a chewy muesli bar, toast the rolled oats and nuts beforehand. Nuts are best placed in an oven preheated to about 180 degrees C for about 5-10 minutes (jiggle the pan every few minutes so they don’t burn) and oats can be coated with a little cooking spray, tossed to ensure even coverage, and placed into a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for about 5-10 minutes, or till lightly golden and fragrant.
1. Preheat oven to 160, line an 35x25cm (or close) tin with baking paper.
2. Roughly chop the nuts and larger pieces of dried fruit into smaller pieces (about the same size as a sultana/golden raisin). Then place the chopped nuts into a bowl with the oats, seeds, coconut and flour and stir together with a wooden spoon till well combined.
3. Heat the honey in the microwave or on your stovetop (in a pan, of course!!) till it is liquid, then add the sugar, peanut butter and oil and whisk together till everything has melted.
4. Pour together the wet and dry mixture and stir together till evenly combined, then place into your lined tin. Wet your hands with some cold water, and using both the wooden spoon and your hands, pack the mixture down flat, making sure to get it into the corners.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes if you prefer a softer, chewier muesli bar, and up to 50-60 minutes if you prefer a crunchier one. During the baking process, to help hold it together, use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to squish down/compact the baking mixture every 10-15 minutes or so (not sure if it actually helps, but I did it anyway)
6. Once baked, remove from the oven and use a hot oiled knife to mark the bars in the tin (the mixture will fall apart if you remove it from the tin while hot!). Allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes, then carefully remove from the tin to your chopping board and cut the bars apart.
7. These can be stored in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 2 weeks – and taste FAR superior to supermarket varieties! Just make sure you layer nonstick baking paper between the layers as they do have a tendency to stick!
[tags]breakfast, granola, muesli, snacks, recipe[/tags]
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