My boyfriend loves storebought museli bars for a snack – you know the ones that are all nicely wrapped up in foil, and that you can grab on your way out the door? Very handy! I agree that they are convenient, but in my opinion they are:
The other day his favourite kind were on sale (pfff) and still worked out to 2 packages of 5 tiny bars for $6! That’s 60c each! I pointed that out to him too, and told him that I would make him some much more delicious museli bars which would be far more healthy and much, much tastier.
Even though the store-bought bars are tiiiiiny (about 35 g each), I can hardly eat a whole one because they are soooooo sweet. I’m not a huge sweet tooth, and for someone who can eat a whole packet of Toffee Pops in an afternoon (ahem), maybe that is OK. But anyway, I thought that I could do better.
The other day I saw a recipe for Honey and Peanut Butter Booster Bars on River Cottage, and I based what I made on this recipe. I think I’ve sufficiently adapted it to be able to call it its own recipe, so I’ll put it down here… All my ingredients are approximate, as I don’t tend to record/weigh things (I started out loosely following the River Cottage recipe for the butter, sugar, peanut butter and honey, and then improvised based on what I thought it should look like – you can, of course, do the same).
Apricot and Date Bars
- 150 g butter**
- 150 g brown sugar
- 2 heaped tablespoons peanut butter
- 1.5 heaped tablespoons honey
- Zest of one lemon
** I used an Olive Oil spread instead of butter, purely because I forgot to buy butter at the supermarket. I think it made the bars a little softer than they would have been with butter, given the “spreadableness” of the Olive Oil spread, but it worked fine, and is a good option if you are cutting out dairy or fat…
Combine these first ingredients in a pot, and heat slowly until they are all melted and combined. Set aside.
- 250 – 300 g whole oats (depending on what else you add)
- 2 handfuls of chopped dried apricots
- 2 handfuls of chopped dates
- 2 handfuls of chopped walnuts
- whatever is leftover in the sesame seed jar (about 1/3 cup is what was in mine)
Add these ingredients, and mix well to combine. You want a mixture that is not too sloppy, but also not so dry that it won’t stick together in the oven. Add more oats if your mixture is too wet. If it’s too dry, you might want to melt a bit more butter and add that.
Press into a lined baking tin (size depends on how thick you want your bars, mine are quite fat!) and bake for 20 – 30 minutes at 160 c (until it goes golden, and before the edges start to burn too much). Remove from the oven, and if you want to, melt some dark chocolate to spread over the top (I suspected that the chocolate chips on the store-bought bars were a large part of their appeal). Wait until they are completely cool, and then cut into slices. I made mine into 12 large bars, you could just as easily make 24 more manageable-sized bars…
Would you like to see mine? Yes? OK!
And a close up of the insides… I spy a date!
Of course, store-bought muesli bars are really, really convenient. They are all individually wrapped in colourful foil packages, so you can just pop one in your bag (you won’t even notice the extra weight! They are so light!). So, I wrapped mine individually in wax paper. When you do this, remember (unlike me) that waxed paper has a waxy side and a non-waxy side. You should probably put the waxy side inside the packet…
Look – a blog post that combines Wool and Spoons! You could also use rubber bands if, unlike me, you don’t have a lot of spare time…
And you can’t have all those muesli bars running wild in your pantry, so they all need to be packaged into their special own box:
One thing I forgot to put on the box was the weight, which even after my dad took one bar for himself, is 1.2 kilograms (1200 grams)! Compare that to the 175 gram store-bought box.
The price per serve (per bar) for these, which I worked out using some fancy Excel workings, is about $1.50 which may seem quite expensive (it did to me!). However, I did use some pretty pricey ingredients such as “gourmet” dates, and the nice apricots from Otago instead of Turkey, walnuts, and organic peanut butter. You could make them a lot cheaper by using other dried fruit such as raisins, and using a lot of seeds like pumpkin seeds instead of more expensive nuts. I made these ones especially with all my boyfriend’s favourite things in them, to prove to him that they can be a zillion times more delicious than store bought ones! You also have to remember that my bars weigh about 100 g each, compared to the store-bought ones (costing 60 c per serve), which weight only 35 g each… So, my bars aren’t super-cheap, but they sure are a lot tastier, judging by the crumbs I have been eating off the bench..
And of course, mine have an extra ingredient, and it’s not high fructose corn syrup…