Muesli bars are a struggle. My kids have always loved them but it really is virtually impossible to find any to buy that make any sense. They are filled with stuff that is not great and sold as healthy. AND they cost a fortune! So…the task was to come up with something without sweeteners, but still edible (esp for kids), gluten free options, without nuts (so it can be sent to school) and cost effective.
It’s not just about the “without”s though is it. We want something that will give energy, protein, vitamins and minerals for the day. What can we make that will give our kids a sustained boost without all the rubbish?
Firstly, the general gist of this is easy. You blend the dates to provide a glue for the muesli and a sweetener for it. With dates, no honey or brown sugar or anything else is needed. You could also use mashed banana if you like that sort of baked banana flavour (I’m not an enormous fan of that, though I’m sure the children would like it).
Find a mix of grains/flours. If you like to use nuts, almond or hazelnut meal would be great. If you want to be gluten and nut free, stick with buckwheat or amaranth. You can add in brown rice flour or besan flour if you like it a little more glued together.
Find a mix of seeds/nuts. This one is nut free but ideally I would love to add in slithered almonds and hazelnuts. Pepitas, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, chia seeds are always good!
Find a mix of fruits. If you can, go organic. The sulphur levels in dried Australian fruits is out of this world HIGH so it’s great to be free of those preservatives where possible (Just a note about that, apparently just 2 Australian dried apricots sends a child way over the daily recommended intake of sulphur. That’s how high Australia’s sulphur levels are *the industry needs more regulation). If you have a dehydrator, dry your own apple/apricots. Sultanas/raisins/cranberries also work well (remembering that cranberries will most likely have added sugar).
So here is my nut free, wholesome, seedy apple and goji muesli recipe:
8 medjool dates
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup Amaranth (puffed)
1/2 cup coconut (desiccated)
handful goji berries
handful chia seeds
1/2 cup chopped dried apple
1 tsp cinnamon
2 T coconut oil
Soak the dates in hot water for 30 minutes. Once soft, blend them in a food processor until paste consistency. Add all other ingredients except coconut oil and process only briefly until mixed.
Stir the coconut oil through and press into a lined tin or dish.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes (this will depend on how much mixture you have in how big a dish. If your muesli bar slice is quite thick, you may need to bake longer).
I have to admit, it is a little crumbly. I either could suggest adding more coconut oil to help bind it once it cools or simply letting it cool properly before cutting would help (I was too eager ;)). Mine held together but the little guy’s didn’t so well. I will wrap it up in glad wrap for the lunch box I think to hold it together in there.
Mind you, this is so delicious i think it will be my breakfast from now on so I might un-muesli bar it and have it as a cereal!