Hands up who used to eat muesli bars (or granola bars ,for our American friends) as a healthy snack as a kid?
Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but most muesli bars are actually not all that healthy. I know – a packaged convenience food that claims to be a healthy lunch box option for children is actually not that good for you? Who would have thought!? Sarcasm aside though, if you look at the ingredients of my childhood favorite Choc Chip variety (yes I know, that should have been a dead giveaway there!) there are a staggering 24 ingredients! There are four different types of sugar, and the bars themselves are composed of 20% sugar! I realise that these were the chocoalte variety, but if you look at the apricot kind – my second favorite – the sugar content jumps up to 22%.
But of course, muesli bars don’t need to be unhealthy and in fact, if you make them yourself they can actually be not only healthy but also much tastier. The trick is to sweeten them with dried fruit turned into a paste. I have been trying this out quite a bit lately and it’s yet to fail, and with out any doubt this here is my favorite flavour combination.
But first, lets discuss the fruit paste. You basically want it to be roughly 4 parts dried fruit, 2 parts water, 2 parts nut butter and one part honey. If you’re trying to cut back on sugar, you could easily cut out the honey, but if you’re making them for children or anyone with a sweet tooth, then I’d keep the honey. There’s only two tablespoons in the whole recipe, so it’s not a huge amount of added chocolate by any means. You could use any nut butter and fruit combination, but this one takes the cake (or the slice?) for me at the moment.
To finish, I’ve drizzled dark chocolate over the top, because it looks pretty and because, well – chocolate! But of course, if you’re a crazy kind of person whose just not that into chocolate, continue with your outlandish ways and leave it out (or off) but do it at your own risk! The bars will still be good, but just not quite as good. You have been warned…
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ⅔ cup chopped nuts and/or seeds
- ⅔ cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup cacao nibs
- 8 dried pear halves, roughly chopped
- ½ cup water
- 3 Tbsp almond butter
- 2 Tbsp raw honey, optional
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 40g 80% dark chocolate
- Preheat oven to 175 C || 350 F
- Combine all of the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- In a small saucepan, add the pear and water and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer a few minutes and then use a fork to mash the pears into a paste. Add the honey if using, nut butter and salt and mash until all ingredients are combined and have formed a paste.
- Add the fruit paste to the dry ingredients and mix through until well combined.
- Pour into a lined and greased baking tray and push down with a spoon.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes until the edges have started to brown and the centre is firm. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack until cooled completely.
- To melt the chocolate, break into smaller pieces and add to a small saucepan over very low heat. Stir continuously until the chocolate starts to melt - be careful not to burn.
- Once melted, use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the muesli bar slice. Cut into smaller squares or bars, and store in an airtight container in the cupboard for up to a week.