Over a year ago we had this old packet of weetbix on the shelf that just wasn’t getting eaten. And for breakfast, Ash was eating expensive little muesli bars filled with sugars and nasty additives. So I decided to bake a batch of muesli bars, and I’ve been baking a batch at least every fortnight since. I’ve tweaked and experimented with the recipe until I think I can safely say I’ve got it down pat.
These aren’t any old sissy little yoghurt-topped, sugar-coated, over-proccessed muesli bars. They’re not like the ones you buy from the ‘healthy snacks’ section of your local woolies that are filled with chocolate chips and high-something-terrible-for-you-corn-syrup in non-biodegradable packaging.
They’ve got no added sugar.
They’ve got lots of protein.
They’ve got healthy fats.
They look good.
They taste better.
They’ll satisfy a man’s breakfast appetite (to be fair, Ash isn’t a big breakfast eater).
They won’t cost you $15 for a piss weak packet of 6.
And you can package them however you like, be it in radioactive plastic or recycled toilet paper. I use baking paper.
Ashley-bars (makes 12 good sized bars)
Treat this recipe like a template. The nuts and dried fruit are never the same week-to-week when I make them, I just use whatever’s in the pantry at the time. Add cinnamon, vanilla or any other flavours that take your fancy. Throw in seeds or dark chocolate chips if you like. You get the idea.
For the banana/chia/cornflour part, it’s a lot easier if you have a blender. And for chopping the nuts, I recently had the bright idea to use my food processor, which made quick work of it. But now it’s always a toss-up between the effort of chopping the nuts by hand or setting up, dirtying and washing the food processor.
- 5 weetbix
- 1 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking if you can help it)
- 1 cup shredded or desiccated coconut
- 1 cup almonds, chopped
- 1/2 cup cashews, chopped
- 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
- 1/2 cup dates, chopped
- 1 banana, the riper the better
- 6 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp chia seeds (or ground flax seeds or just more cornflour)
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 20cm x 30cm baking dish with baking paper.
- Crumble the weetbix into a big bowl. Mix in the oats, coconut, nuts and fruit. At this point if you were adding cinnamon or anything else dry you would put it in.
- Blend the banana with the water, then stir in the chia seeds and cornflour until it’s fairly uniform. The chia seeds will start to thicken it almost immediately. If you’re adding vanilla or any other liquid flavours (sherry like a boozy housewife?) you would add it in now.
- Stir the banana mix into the bowl of dry stuff until it’s all pretty well combined. Sometimes I find it easier to use my hands for this bit, and it’s fun mixing with your hands anyway. It should now sort of stick together if you pinch it. Try not to eat too much of it when doing the pinch test or there won’t be any left.
- Press into baking dish until it’s all quite compacted, bake for 25 minutes or until it’s looking nice and golden brown on top. Sometimes for unknown reasons it’s taken 40 minutes, other times 15. 90% the time 25 minutes is perfect. I must do something wrong on those other occasions.
- Let them cool, use a sharp serrated knife to slice into 12 bars, get fancy with packaging (or not) and store in an airtight container.