Muesli bars – the non gross variety

So just last week I went for this epic hike with an old housemate of mine from my uni days. We drove 6 hours from our respective homes and walked 70km in 4 days, up hills, down hills, through long grasses, stumbling over rocks, crossing waist-deep creeks, warming ourselves by roaring fires, dodging stinging nettles and generally having an awesome outdoorsy time.

I appreciate that this sounds like absolute HELL to most people, but fear not, this post is not about convincing everyone that camping out for a week will benefit human kind; I’m here to tell you about food, of course! Walking along in the bush you end up burning up a heck of a lot of energy, so you need something that’ll (a) give you a quick hit to get you up those hills; and (b) provide some longer sustenance to get you through those many, many kilometres.

I stumbled across a recipe for some home-made muesli bars. Packed full of nuts, dried fruit and seeds, as far as muesli bars go, they’re actually pretty healthy and epic-ly tasty!

You will need:
– 1 cup of flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1 cup rolled oats
– 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
– 2/3 cup brown sugar
– 2/3 cup sultanas
– 1/2 cup cashews
– 1/2 cup almonds
– 1/2 cup dark chocolate in little pieces
– 1/2 cup various seeds (I used a mix of sunflower, pine nut and pumpkin)
– 10 dried apricots
– 10 dried dates
– any other dried fruit you like – I used in total about 1/2 a cup of dried apple and dried pear
– a dash of vanilla essence
– Honey to drizzle (I used about 3 tablespoons)
– 1 egg, whisked lightly
– 125grams of cooled, melted butter

You can basically use whatever ingredients you like. Don’t like dates? Leave them out! The thought of almonds gross you out? Don’t bother with them.

Step 1 – gettin’ hot and heavy: Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius, fan forced. Grease a slice tin with butter and line with baking paper.

Step 2 – mix it up: this is quite possibly the easiest recipe since those raspberry muffins I made a little while back and is pretty much the same theory: chuck everything into a bowl and mix it up. You’ll want to be cutting up your apricots / dates / any other large bits of dried fruits into smaller bits (I cut my dried apricots into quarters) – this way the various ingredients mingle better and you don’t end up with a huge bite of apricot and nothing else. So whack in your oats, coconut, brown sugar, nuts, fruits, seeds and chocolate and mix it up. Then add your egg, vanilla essence and butter and stir until it’s all well combined. Spoon this nutty conglomerate of a mixture into your slice tin and really give it a good press to flatten it all down (this way it’ll all hold together better in the end). If you so choose, you could sprinkle a few extra nuts / seeds on the top…not outrageously necessary though. Drizzle the honey all over the top. Bake for around about 15-20 minutes – until you can see everything turning a delicious, welcoming, scrumptious golden brown. Once it’s cooled, slice and enjoy.

Fruity, nutty, seedy deliciousness