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Topic: Yummy muesli bars (with tutorial / recipe) PIC heavy!  (Read 4982 times)
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tillstar
« on: January 30, 2011 11:34:35 AM »

The boyfriend and I eat a lot of muesli bars, they are just such a good little snack to have in the office. But the nice ones are also quite expensive. And we have this New Year's resolution to produce less rubbish, and of course purchased muesli bars are all individually wrapped, so no good!

So I decided to try and make my own.



I googled a lot of recipes and tried a few different ways, and in the end combined everything into a recipe that works for us. Basic ingredients are oats and honey and then I add nuts and dried fruit and other yummy stuff.

And this is how they're made.

Ingredients (I'm German, so I'm using grams):



50 g butter or spread. I use soya spread but I've tried butter and it works just as well.
250 g oats. Mine are sort of medium fine but I guess you could mix fine ones and big ones.
50 g sugar
150 g nuts and seeds. For this batch I used chopped mixed nuts, sunflower seeds and linseed, but of course anything goes. If using linseed or sesame seed or anything similarly small, I would not use more than 30 g, otherwise the finished bars get quite crumbly.
50 g dried fruit - I like cranberries. I have also substituted the fruit and some of the nuts with a sort of tropical nibble mix - dried banana and pineapple chunks, coconut flakes and brazil nuts I think. Also nice!
150 g clear honey
Not pictured: 2 handful of puffed rice - adds a bit a volume to the mix
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp lime juice (or lemon)

Melt the butter / spread. Add the oats and stir until all the spread has been soaked up. Then add sugar.



Stir continuously. The sugar will start melting in the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring.

Add nuts, seeds, fruit and puffed rice. Stir.

When all the sugar is melted, add the honey. No picture of that as when I tried taking it, the oats started burning and then the honey spilled everywhere and it got a bit messy  Shocked

Stir until all the mix is evenly covered with honey. Add cinnamon and lime juice and stir that in as well.

The mixture will quickly start getting brown when the honey caramelizes. Don't let it burn! But don't take it off the heat too soon as it needs to caramelize for the bars to stick. Low heat and a lot of stirring (sorry, I keep repeating myself!) is the key.

When you've reached a good caramel-ish colour, pour the mixture on baking paper.



Now the tricky part starts. You want to compact the mix as much as possible to make the bars stick together - otherwise you're producing fancy muesli (not that that's not nice too  Cheesy ).

Put another layer of baking paper on top.

Squash the mix with both hands by putting lots of weight on. Careful, it's quite hot. I use an oven glove on one hand, though that makes it a bit harder to bring it into shape.


(The boyfriend took those.)

Next step you want to make sure the edges don't crumble away, so you sort of squeeze from the sides. Don't fold the mixture like you would do with cookie dough, that WILL make it crumble. Just press from the sides. I hope the photo shows it, it's a bit hard to explain...


(Looks like I have really stubby fingers in this one!)

Squash from top and squeeze from sides until you have a nice solid flat thing. Try and get the mix the same thickness in the middle and one the sides - around 1-1.5 cm, not less or it will be too fragile.



Now the patience bit. You have to let it cool completely before you cut it or it will break.

Usually the corners do crumble a bit, but after a bit of practice not so much any more. And it gives me an excuse to eat the broken bits straight away  Wink



Hope you enjoy. If anybody tries to do this, or has made muesli bars a different way, I'd like to hear your comments Smiley


Update January 2012:

Thanks Craftster for choosing my muesli bars for Best of 2011!

Ive been making those for a year now and I thought Id share my experiences.

- I now use a 28 cm non stick slightly buttered baking tray instead of just a sheet of baking paper makes a nice square shape, which is much easier to cut into bars.

- I then put the whole thing in the oven for about 20 minutes at a low heat (gas mark 2-3, maybe 150 degrees Celsius). Or I make lasagne for dinner and just put it in when the oven cools down it doesnt need to be precise.
This helps glue it all together better, I havent had any crumble away since.

Varieties:

- I have tried a few vegan batches with treacle instead of honey, it works just as well though I find I prefer the honey taste, treacle makes it very malty.

- I have done a nut free version too (because I forgot to buy any). I just used more oats.

- To make a less crunchy version I added some creamed coconut (this stuff: http://www.bluedragon.com/products/ingredients/creamed-coconut-block.aspx, though I buy the non branded verison in the asia shop - exactly the same, but much cheaper!). 200 gram (one pack) dissolved in 400 ml of boiling water, and then I use about a quarter of that. I add it after the honey / treacle. The rest can either be frozen in portions or used for curries. Only lasts a day or two in the fridge, even though it gets solid again.

This makes them much chewier, but obviously adds some calories. Nice though!  

- Chocolaty variety: Add a good table spoon of cocoa instead of the lime juice. Mmmh.

- Christmas variety: Cocoa and cinnamon or Christmas spices...



« Last Edit: January 24, 2012 04:43:22 AM by tillstar » THIS ROCKS   Logged
aisy
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2011 12:09:14 PM »

Those look really delicious! Out of curiosity, how long do they last before going bad?
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cheekibot
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2011 12:19:08 PM »

wow - thank you so much for posting this, I am going to give it a try!
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2011 01:04:03 PM »

These look so tasty! Could you substitute molasses or a simple syrup for the honey?
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2011 01:35:14 PM »

Can't wait to try this recipe!  My hubby and I love the bars, but we really don't like raisins or dried cranberries so I keep meaning to figure out how to make them.  Thank you for your hard work putting this together Smiley
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Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
tillstar
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2011 02:43:22 PM »

Thanks for all the comments  Cheesy

Out of curiosity, how long do they last before going bad?

I usually make them on Saturday or Sunday and they last until Friday. Not because they go off but because they get eaten.
I imagine if you keep them dry and cool, they could be stored longer, nothing really in there that goes bad quickly.

Could you substitute molasses or a simple syrup for the honey?

I would imagine so. The honey kind of gets a bit thicker when it caramelizes and that makes it glue together without being too sticky to hands or to each other.
I would just give it a shot, worst thing that can happen is it doesn't stick but then you can still use it as muesli!

Let me know how it works out if you try it!
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twylag
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2011 04:50:24 PM »

Is it the pressure that holds them together or the honey or what?
I have tried making all sorts of bars and can *never* and I do mean never get them to stick and I wind up with fruity granola cereal crumbs.  This is true for puff wheat squares too and lets not get into what I can do with rice-crispie-marshmellow squares.  I think I am square impaired; advice appreciated.
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BoxOfRocks
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2011 05:15:15 PM »

Thank you for sharing.  Do you think these would hold up in shipping?  I'm always trying to find new recipes for holiday gifts and these would be great.
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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2011 06:21:00 PM »

I just made a batch based off your recipe! They are cooling but I had to take a pinch and they are wonderful! I went to two different stores to find puffed rice and came up with nothing Sad I used a couple handfuls of corn flakes instead though. I think this may be a new favorite! My son is calling them "Crunchy Munchy Honey Cakes...Fun to make" because of The Wiggles haha. Thanks for the recipe!
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cadub
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2011 07:12:16 AM »

Hello
This recipe looks great - can't wait t try it - have you tried pouring the cooked mixture into a baking pan approximately the size of the finished uncut bar.  You may want to warm the pan a little first, then use the bottom of a second pan to press the mixture.

All the best!
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