Can we all just agree that it was a good day when the muesli bar went mainstream? Prior to the eighties, homemade muesli bars were seen as hippy snacks. In fact, the entire muesli/wholegrain thing was dismissed as hippy healthfoods and not the kind of thing that ‘normal’ people ate. Which just seems crazy these days, when we are all sensibly packing ourselves full of ‘crunchy’ foods like muesli, yoghurt, kombucha, sourdough and kefir.
The thing is, the muesli bars you buy in the shops are so far removed from the health-foods they started off at that you might as well pack your kids a chocolate bar for morning tea. Sad, but true. There are some brands that are better than others, but most are sadly lacking in fibre and very unlacking in sugar.
It will be comforting to know that homemade muesli bars are actually one of the easiest things you could possibly bake yourself. They are fast to put together and require little in the way of technique. You don’t even need an oven for this recipe.
Another good one: Honey and oat muesli bars
Muesli bars also keep for ages in an airtight container on the bench, and even longer if you wrap them individually in grease-proof paper and freeze them. Then all you have to do is pop one in the lunchbox and you’re done. Mind you, they don’t keep nearly half as long as the shop-bought versions, and that’s a very good thing indeed. So many preservatives in foods that you can make yourself without a single E number!!
Try out my tried-and-trusted homemade muesli bar recipe below. They are packed with fibre from wholegrains and seeds, are low in sugar and taste fantastic. Once you’ve tried this recipe, have some fun coming up with your own flavoursome combination. Dried fruits like apricots, strawberries, cranberries, sultanas and even apple mix well with nuts and seeds of all kinds. Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are really nice to include, but I leave them out of mine as they qualify as ‘green bits’ and my eldest won’t eat them. When do they stop being so fussy?!
Homemade muesli bars
Makes 12 decent sized bars
Takes 20 minutes
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
½ cup almond meal or plain wholemeal flour
½ cup sesame seeds
½ cup sunflower kernels
½ cup flaxseeds
¾ cup dried fruit – sultanas or dried cranberries or dried apricots
½ cup honey or maple syrup or ¾cup malt rice syrup
1 tablespoon brown sugar or coconut sugar (optional)
Grease and line a 16cm x 28cm pan with baking paper.
Toast the oats, coconut, wheatgerm, sesame seeds, sunflower kernels, pepitas and flaxseeds in a frying pan over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Once cool, stir in sultanas.
Melt the butter, honey and sugar together in a small saucepan, stirring continuously. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for around 7 minutes, or until mixture forms a soft ball when a little is dropped into ice-cold water.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together well. Spoon the mixture into the lined baking tray then press down firmly with a large metal spoon.
Allow to cool completely, then cut into bars. Store in an airtight container for about a week, or individually wrap each bar in grease-proof paper, put into a suitable freezer container and freeze for up to one month.
Try adding some dark chocolate chips in place of the dried fruit.
You could also use LSA mix in place of the wheatgerm.
Try swapping out some of the seeds or fruit with slivered almonds or crushed cashews.