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Does anyone remember those muesli bars that used to have a sprinkling of chocolate chips on the top? I think I ate one every day for the whole of 2003. I hated those bars! I’d always look at it in my lunchbox and think, Mum if you love me you’d give me straight-up chocolate.
This is not chocolate. It is a sham! Seriously, it would take me over ten minutes to pick off each piece of chocolate so I could save them until last! Talk about life’s challenges.
Nowadays I’m addicted to adding chocolate chips. Does this mean I’ve become marvelously sophisticated in my older years? Now that I can tolerate my chocolate to be tempered by oats and other such goodies? I like to think so.
Today I woke up and wanted to recreate those muesli bars of my youth, but not a bland, sugary version like the original. These bars here are full of healthy things and far tastier! (Plus it has some chocolate…shhh).
These have an Italian vibe from the cocoa nibs and hazelnuts. Cocoa nibs are wonderful chocolatey pieces of the un-processed cocoa bean. They aren’t sweet, just super chocolatey.
I’m always trying to find a perfect home for them because unlike some, I don’t really like them tucked into things like brownies and cookies. Those places need real chocolate chips that melt in your mouth. Muesli bars proved the perfect home because they’re meant to be chewy and dense.
And these bars are sweet enough all ready to bring out the best chocolate flavor.
I based this recipe on a wonderful granola bar recipe at My New Roots. I fully intended to spend the day reading and experimenting with lots of different recipes and coming up with my own, but I am so creatively exhausted from cooking and blogging at the minute.
The last few weeks before I leave I think I’ve made fifteen posts to carry through until February…And when you see such perfect, nutritional, and expert recipes on beautiful blogs like this, sometimes it’s nice just to acknowledge how much we can learn from others.
While some of the best things I’ve ever made have come from my own experimenting and recipe building, sometimes the nicest things to make are from a trusted recipe made with love by someone else.
There’s something very therapeutic about pulling a cookbook off the shelf and flicking to the most smudged page, barely needing to read the recipe anymore because you know it so well.
You can add in little twists to make it your own, but you rest safely in the knowledge that the recipe is strong enough to carry you through without it being a guessing game. These bars rest on a base of chia, banana, agave, olive oil, and coconut butter.
Coconut, Hazelnut, And Cocoa Nib Muesli Bars
- 2 bananas (I defrosted frozen ones and it turned out fine)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds mixed with 4 tablespoons water to make a gel
- 45ml (1/2 cup) coconut butter
- 20ml (1 tablespoon) olive oil
- 80 ml (1/4 cup) agave nectar or rice syrup
- 225g (2.5 cups) gluten free rolled oats
- 50g (3/4 cup) desiccated coconut
- 50g (1/2 cup) each hazelnuts chopped, and cocoa nibs
- 50g sultanas
- 1 tsp cinnamon.
- Preheat the oven to 165C (330F) and line a 20 x 20cm or 8 x 8-inch pan with baking paper, leaving an overlap for pulling out the bars.
- Mix the chia seeds and water well and mash together with the bananas. In a small saucepan, heat the butter, oil, and agave syrup until combined.
- Blend all the wet ingredients together well.
- In a large bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients until evenly distributed. Pour over the wet ingredients and stir together well with a spoon.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until firm to touch and golden on top.
- Leave to cool completely before pulling out the bars and slicing them. Use a big bread knife to get even bars.
- They last well for up to a week in an airtight container. Makes 9-12 bars.
I made a few changes mainly to suit what I had, and because the coconut butter I had was so solid I literally couldn’t scrape any more of it out of the jar. Feel free to make your own alterations.
These bars are sturdy and soft instead of super chewy, like some oat bars. I know you’ll love them So go make them!
Photos & Recipes by Lillian Crowther Gibson. Sugar&Cinnamon.