Muesli bars make a healthy snack and are ideal for children’s lunchboxes, where they can replace unhealthy chocolate or crisps. Making them yourself is straightforward and lets you tailor the recipe to your own taste, including the things you and your kids enjoy most. The bars are based on porridge oats or store-bought muesli but you can add other ingredients if you want.
Preheat your oven to 180 C (360 F or Gas Mark 5).
Prepare a shallow baking tray by covering it with either aluminium foil or baking paper. This will help you to remove the mixture from the tray after baking.
Measure out the basic ingredients. The bars have two basic elements; solid ingredients – either porridge oats or muesli – and “sticky” ingredients that bind everything together. The ability to add extra dry ingredients to your mixture means that the precise proportions will vary, but as a base, try English food writer Beverley Glock’s mix of 100 grams of butter, 85 grams of brown sugar, 75 grams of golden syrup and 250 grams of muesli. These proportions allow for 300 grams of additional fruit or nuts. If you do not like the taste of golden syrup you could replace it with runny honey.
Choose any additional ingredients you’d like to add. Dried fruit and nuts are good additions which offer extra nutrition as well as texture in the finished bars. You could try cranberries, dried apricots, dates, dried coconut pieces, flaked almonds or cashew nuts.
Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup or honey in a saucepan and melt the ingredients over a low heat, stirring with the wooden spoon. Do not be tempted to test the temperature of the mixture with your fingers as melted sugar is very hot indeed and can give a nasty burn.
Add the dry ingredients to the saucepan once the butter, sugar and syrup have melted. Mix everything together thoroughly, ensuring that all of the dry ingredients are coated with the sticky melted butter, sugar and syrup. This coating will hold the finished bars together.
Turn the heat off and pour the mixture into the prepared baking tray. Spread it out with the spoon, pressing down hard with the back of the spoon to compress the mixture and help it bind together.
Place the tray in the pre-heated oven and bake for around 20 minutes. The mixture is ready once it turns a golden colour.
Remove the hot tray from the oven using the oven gloves to protect your hands. Let the mixture cool before you try to handle it as it will tend to fall apart while still warm.
Remove the baked mixture from the tray and cut it into bar-sized pieces using a sharp knife.
Store the finished bars in an air-tight container to keep them fresh.
If you’re adding nuts such as flaked almonds or cashew nuts, toast them under the grill or in a hot, dry, frying pan for a few minutes to enhance their flavour.