Homemade Muesli Bars (gluten free, nut free, dairy free, egg free!)
We eat a lot of muesli bars (or granola bars, as they're known in the states) in our household. They are such an easy snack to grab on the run, or eat with one hand, or put into a lunchbox. But the shop-bought varieties, whilst tasty, are so expensive and also tend to be made with wheat and oats (which my son can’t have, unfortunately).
So I was on a mission to create tasty muesli bars that didn’t just crumble into a heap, and that were gluten free. And while I was at it, I thought “Why not make them nut free, and egg free, and dairy free too?” because I like to make life difficult for myself (ha!).
So here is what I came up with. A scrummy, chewy bar that is pretty easy to make and is allergy friendly too. And you can adapt it to have whatever you like in it. Put in oats if you like, or sunflower seeds, or leave out the chia, whatever floats your boat. Enjoy!
65g coconut oil
½ cup Golden Syrup
¼ cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
2 cups GF cornflakes
2 cups brown rice puffs
½ cup desiccated coconut
1 cup dried cranberries/sultanas/raisins*
½ cup diced dried apricots*
¼ cup pepitas
2 Tbspn chia seeds**
*leave out the dried fruit for young children, as when it bakes they fruit becomes very chewy (almost candied) which is delicious but tricky for little mouths
**I love chia and put it in almost everything, but not everyone likes the way it gets stuck in their teeth. Leave it out if you are one of the latter types of people
Melt the coconut oil, Nuttlex, golden syrup and brown sugar together in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and then turn it down to a simmer and let it bubble for at least 2-3 minutes. This is the only tricky step – so turn on Peppa Pig, get the kids distracted, and stand in front of the stove. You need the oils and sugars to thicken up and darken up, without burning it. If you don’t get the mixture thick enough, the final result will be sticky muesli bars that fall apart.
Turn off the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Add to a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and combine well.
Pour the mixture into a large, lined baking dish and press it down very firmly. I find the best way to do this is to get a small piece of baking paper and use my fingers to push down onto the mixture, using the baking paper to stop my fingers from getting covered in (delicious) goo. Spend some time here (put on another Peppa Pig) making sure that it’s all pushed down as firmly and as evenly as you can get it. Otherwise you will end up with a crumble at the end.
Bake in a 1600C (fan forced) oven for 25-30min. Better to ever so slightly overcook it rather than undercook it, as otherwise you may end up with (you guessed it) crumbly bars at the end.
Allow to cool completely before slicing it up. Yields about 20 bars. Store in an airtight container. And try not to eat it all while you’re chopping it up!