Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 7: Fruity muesli bars

The weather in Sydney this weekend was rainy and cold so I thought I'd make the most of it by testing out some sugar-free baking. As I found last week, I was struggling to fill the hole left by my normal afternoon sushi snack. I found this recipe in The Thrifty Kitchen by Suzanne and Kate Gibbs (Margaret Fulton's daughter and granddaughter). It's for home-made muesli bars.

This recipe uses honey and brown sugar. I ditched the sugar and just added another spoon of honey. I have a friend who used try and be 'healthy' by using NutraSweet in her cake recipes and it was a complete disaster. If it's something like a cake, and you're not bound by the rules like I am, I think you could just cut the sugar amount by a 1/2 of the recommended amount. That way it's still likely to at least rise and brown!

125g unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (left out)
2 tablespoons honey (I used 3)
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup self raising flour
1 cup sultanas or dried cranberries
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 180 and butter and line a 20 x 30 cm lamington tin (line the base and the two sides, making sure the paper overhangs the side by 2 cm).

2. Melt the butter with the sugar and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir, without letting it boil, until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in all the remaining ingredients.

3. Press the mixture firmly into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the tin before lifting out a cutting into 5 cm squares.

The end result was quite tasty and it definitely wasn't missing the sugar. I think the honey and dried fruit makes it sweet enough. As I typed out the recipe, I realised that I didn't actually put any butter on the tin. Whoops! Maybe that was the reason it was a little dry? Or maybe I overcooked it? Either way, it was quite crumbly and wasn't easy to cut into the perfect squares they pictured in the book. The hint they give is to make sure you press the mixture into the pan so it all sticks together - maybe mine was spread a bit thin?

The great thing about this recipe is that once you've cut the slices you can put them in the fridge in individual zip lock bags, take one out in the morning and defrost it on your desk at work for a nice morning or afternoon snack. And they're much better for you than commercial muesli bars.

Image is not actual representation!

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