Crunchy quinoa muesli bars

It’s a new school year and that means a fresh battle over the contents of Bradley’s lunchbox. Last year he had a classmate with nut allergies but the kids were still allowed nuts/nut butters in their lunchboxes. I made a nice chunky muesli bar chock full of cashews, dried cranberries and other goodies that was demolished every day. Alas, at some stage during the year, a new rule was introduced – nuts were still ok but the child must wash their hands after eating. Simple, right? This posed a huuuuge problem for Bradley as it meant he had to spend 15 seconds washing his hands which ate into valuable play time.

15 seconds. Game changer. And that meant the muesli bars had a good trip to school and back home again.

This year he’s in an allergy free classroom so I can go back to nutty muesli bars. I thought this recipe sounded delicious and it is. Sweet and slightly salty, it’s packed full of goodness and adapts easily to suit your tastes.

Ingredients
10 Medjool dates, pitted
2 cups (160g rolled oats)
1½ cups (260g) uncooked quinoa
1c (140g) roughly chopped cashews
½c (70g) sunflower seeds
½c (70g) pumpkin seeds
1c (250g) nut butter
²⁄3c (228g) honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
optional – a few squares of dark chocolate
optional – coconut or vege oil

Method
Preheat your oven to 150°C and line a 9×13″ baking tin with baking paper, making sure you have a bit of an overhang to remove the bars later. I give mine a quick spray with cooking oil so the paper doesn’t slide everywhere. Pop it to one side.

Pulse the dates in a food processor until they turn into a nice chunky paste then transfer to a large bowl. Add everything else except the chocolate and oil. Stir it all together until it’s evenly combined. This will take a bit of effort!

Tip it into the prepared baking tin and press it into an even layer. You need to pack it in as tightly as possible so it doesn’t break up when you cut it. Bake it for around 22 minutes, until it’s lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven and pop it on a wire rack to cool for one hour, then transfer it to the fridge to chill for another hour.

If you’re going to add a chocolate drizzle, melt the chocolate in the microwave then stir in a few drops of coconut or vege oil. Drizzle it over the slab in the tin.

Using the overhang, remove the slab from the tin and cut into bars. I wrapped half of mine in baking paper just to save a bit of time and stored the rest on baking paper in a container. Keep them in the fridge so they stay nice and firm.

Notes

  • This mixture is doubled, you can easily halve it and use a 8 or 9 inch square baking tin
  • You can use any combo of nuts – cashews, almonds, walnuts etc work well
  • Same with nut butters – they can be expensive so I used a combo of cashew butter and almond butter
  • Don’t leave out the salt- I did in my first batch and it definitely lacked a bit of flavour

Recipe only slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

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