Thursday, July 29, 2010

Muesli Bars

I was doing the supermarket shopping with mum on the weekend and I decided to try the healthiest looking muesli bars I could find. Having decided (by looking at the packaging - incidentally, bad idea) I proceeded to wander the aisles reading the nutritional information. I was staggered to see that a simple muesli bar that had not been roasted, had no chocolate added and the packaging of which boasted various health claims could be so packed full of sugar and trans fats. They were rather expensive so mum and I decided to put them back and make our own. 

And here they are!

These bars were wonderful, nice and chewy, easy to make and very adaptable. The original recipe came from Australia Food which I found through Taste Spotting but (as always) I’ve altered the recipe to suit what I’ve got. Do you see the theme developing here? I sure do!
We’ll start with the down side, these didn’t set quite hard enough to enjoy if you were on the run. I had to lift them carefully out of the tray an even then they could crumble. To prevent this from happening I put them in the fridge and all was well. Next time I make them (and believe me there will be and next time, and probably and next and a next ...) anyway, next time I’ll be using a smaller tray so that they’re thicker and hopefully they’ll stick together. Secondly, I’ll experiment with the butter levels as I found these ones too buttery. Though it did give a depth of flavour I found it too much and it somewhat detracted from the healthy image I had in mind. 
Now onto the positives, there’s a lot. The bars were delicious!! They were inexpensive to make, can be altered as you wish and didn’t take long to prepare or set. The bars were sweet (but not sickeningly so), chewy and looked stunning. You can make them healthier by changing the fruit, for example instead of using dried fruit which can high in sugar you could use fresh fruit and dehydrate them yourself. Try cutting some apple, pear, apricot, nectarine, plum, cherries, fig or any other fruit that’s in season and drying them in an oven or in a dehydrator. The combinations are only limited by your green grocer ;)
I wonder how a little passionfruit would would go with nectarine for a summer one ... Anyway before I fall into a dreamlike state I need to finish this :D
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup currents
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup sultanas
1/4 of flax seeds
100g butter 
1/2 cup honey
1/8 cup brown sugar
* If you wanted to make these vegan simply substitute coconut butter and maple syrup for the honey.
- Line square or rectangular baking tin with grease proof paper. Set aside.

- Combine oats, coconut, sesame seeds, poppy seeds in a fry pan over low heat. Stir every few minutes for 8 minutes or until golden. Be careful not to burn the mixture. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Stir in the fruit and flax seeds.

- In a small sauce pan stir the butter, honey and sugar over a medium heat until the sugar has melted. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, without stirring, for 4-5 minutes. Add butter mixture to dry ingredients. Stir well until combined.

- Spoon the mixture into the tin. Use a large metal spoon to press the mixture down firmly and evenly. This must be firmly compacted otherwise bars will fall apart when being held. I put a layer of grease proof paper over the top of the semi compacted mixture, then placed a heavy book on top and used that to smooth out the contents. 

Allow to cool and then cut into squares or rectangles. The bars can be stored in a foil-lined airtight container for up to a week.

1 comment:

  1. Yum, they sound so delicioius. I will have to try this recipe out!


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