"I feel like everyone should know about Beijing Tai Tai... it's the
Eat Pray Love
for mothers." - author Dee White

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Healthifying Kids Recipes - Muesli Bars

School lunches can be a challenge - keeping foods healthy, fresh, varied, interesting, appetising and nut-free does my head in sometimes. I love feeding my kids oats, nuts and seeds, so the idea of muesli bars attracts me but the commercial kind are so chronically packed with sugar, fat, chocolate (!?) - oftentimes preservatives - and almost always nuts.

So, I decided to make my own. I went hunting for good, natural AND delicious bars and came across these recipes, which look amazing. I'm yet to try them but will let you know the results - and the great thing about muesli bars is that you can add anything and everything you want to change it up (yes, even choc chips for a treat!).

Happy cooking! and please send me a link to your favourite, tried-and-true muesli bar recipe.



This muesli bar is by Syrie Wongkaew, from About.com.

Ingredients:

1 cup of rolled oats
1 cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut
1/3 cup of wheatgerm
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
1/2 cup of sunflower kernals
1/2 cup of raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup of dried, unsweetened cranberries
1/4 of flax seeds
100 grams of butter (just under 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup of honey
1/8 cup of brown sugar

Grease and line a square baking tin with baking paper. Set aside.

Cook the oats, coconut, wheatgerm, sesame seeds, sunflower kernels and pumpkin seeds in a fry pan over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until golden. Be careful not to burn the mixture. Transfer to a metal bowl. Set aside to cool.

Stir in the cranberries and flax seeds.

Cook the butter, honey and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly for for 3 to 4 minutes or until sugar has dissolved.

Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, without stirring, for 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. 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.

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These home-made muesli bars are from Natural Parenting and look super easy and delish... and this one is egg AND dairy-free.

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup coconut
150g Nuttelex or butter
1 tablespoon honey

Sift flours and melt honey and butter together. Combine all dry ingredients with honey and butter mixture until it all clings together. Press into well greased lamington tin and bake 180 for 15 to 20 mins until golden. Cut into bars while hot and remove from tin when cold.

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These delicious looking muesli squares are from Taste.com.au and I can't wait to give them a whirl. They look like they actually might stick together instead of falling apart into, err... muesli.

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup wheatgerm
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup sultanas
125g butter
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar

Grease and line a 3cm deep, 16cm x 28cm (base) baking pan with baking paper. Cook oats, coconut, wheatgerm, sesame seeds, sunflower kernels and pumpkin seeds in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring, for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside to cool. Stir in sultanas.

Cook butter, honey and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, without stirring, for 7 minutes or until mixture forms a soft ball when a little is dropped into ice-cold water. Add to dry ingredients. Stir until combined.

Spoon mixture into pan. Use a large metal spoon to press down firmly. Allow to cool. Cut into squares. Store in a foil-lined airtight container for up to 7 days.

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After something with a bit of crunch? These crunchy muesli bars look like a cracking snack. Taken from a reader of Jamie Oliver's website, who posted it in the forums. Mmmmmm....

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups muesli
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
11/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon cornflour
100g butter
1/4 cup golden syrup

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm x 30cm (base) slab pan. Line with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends.

Combine muesli, coconut, cinnamon, pepitas, sunflower seeds and cornflour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre.

Place butter, golden syrup and honey in a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on high (100%) for 1 to 2 minutes, or until melted and bubbling.

Pour hot syrup into muesli mixture. Stir to combine. Spread mixture evenly over prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and golden. Remove from oven. Allow to cool in pan. Lift slice from pan. Cut into bars.

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These cereal muesli bars are egg-free and there is a gluten-free option in the notes at the end of the recipe. It's from kidspot.com.au where you can find loads of great recipes for kids.

Ingredients:

½ cup (125mL) honey
¼ cup caster sugar
125g butter
3 cups rolled oats (see note for GF)
1 cup rice bubbles
1 cup sultanas
½ cup chopped apricots or dates or choc chips
½ cup desiccated coconut
¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seed kernels), sunflower or sesame seeds

Grease and line a slice tray (mine is 31 cm x 22cm) with baking paper.

Combine honey, sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes or until syrup thickens slightly. Remove from heat.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour over the hot syrup and stir to combine. Spoon into prepared pan and press firmly to make sure the mixture will stick together. Wet fingers with a bit of cold water and press the top to get a smooth finish.

Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Cool and then refrigerate until well chilled and cut into 24 slices (about 2cm x 6cm).

Notes: To make these muesli bars gluten free, use 2 cups of crushed cornflakes and 2 cups of rice bubbles.

6 comments:

Sal Harris said...

these are fabulous, and just the sort of thing my husband loves too, conveniently! Thanks for doing all the hard work, Tania :)

Corrie said...

oh delicious, thanks for sharing! I was on a huge muesli bar roll last year and kept making them, so much so that my silicone baking tray was starting to smell like honey!!!!!!!!

must get back into making them, the kids loved them as did my husband! I find pre-packaged ones so sweet and a waste of money once you've made your own!

Corrie:)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for these recipes! I tried the first muesli bar recipe with success and they are delicious. They will all come in handy for school and for my daughter as she is allergic to eggs. I have calculated the calories at 315 per bar (if sliced into 12 bars)which is a little high, but I am going to swap the coconut for rice bubbles and swap the butter for a healthier margarine which should cut this down a bit. The seeds including the flax are the nutritious element and no added preservatives. Yeah! Teresa :)

Tania McCartney said...

Wow! Thank you for calculating the calories! Absolutely, that is high and funny you should say this because after tasting them, I felt they were sweet and buttery. I have my kids only small pieces of this one.

I then made a second batch and put rice bubbles in, too! I also added flaked almonds and put in a little less butter and honey. They were a bit too dry, alas, so I'll keep experimenting.

I wonder if a little extra virgin olive oil would work? Same calories but far better for us.

Anyone else have some ideas?

Anonymous said...

Maybe use canola oil instead for the omega-3 and fatty acids. but who knows I've just found these recipes so haven't tried them yet but I will.
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I am about to make the Jamie Oliver Muesli bars, have all the ingredients ready and recipe says to place butter, golden syrup & HONEY in a heat proof bowl - no mention of honey in the ingredients list!!!!

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