After a 2 week break the little people are back at school. We had plenty of fun with trips to the zoo, park and pool, a time to catch up and play with friends. Spring is my favourite time of year and I am just loving getting out for bike rides and taking the dog for a run at the park now that the air has lost its chill.
The routine of lunchboxes can become just that…routine and, dare I say, boring. I am always looking for something new to pack into the boxes. I often bake double batches of muffins to freeze for an easy morning tea. A while ago I came across a recipe for Scottish Oatcakes in an old Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook of Biscuits and Slices. I gave it a go and they were received pretty well as an afternoon snack. But as I do more often than not, I started thinking about how I could change the recipe into something new; a muesli bar.
It only takes a few minutes of looking at labels on packaging to figure out that it’s almost impossible to find a muesli bar that is low FODMAP. So many bars contain honey or way too much dried fruit, not to mention all the hard to recognise ingredients that look like they belong in a chemistry lab. They are usually held together with lots of sugar and any goodness they might have held is lost in their sticky sweetness.
After playing around with the Scottish Oatcake recipe I have come up with a muesli bar that we are now happily enjoying in our lunchboxes. It is a bar of the crunchy variety, not like those sugary chewy ones. I start making them by combining the dry ingredients; wholemeal spelt flour (you could use another wheat free flour mix if you prefer), oats, a small amount of brown sugar, cinnamon and ½ cup of mixed nuts and seeds. Limiting the nuts and seeds to just ½ cup ensure that these bars fit the recommended 1 tablespoon per serve.
Melted butter and a beaten egg are what hold these bars together (I’d also like to try making them with oil instead of butter but that’s still on the to-do list). I wanted to make some of the muesli bars with chocolate chips and some with currants, so I pressed half of the mixture into a tin that I had lined with foil; the chocolate chips go on top later. Just 1 tablespoon of currants was added to the rest of the mixture which I then pressed in the other side of the tin; just 1 tablespoon keeps them low FODMAP.
Now for cutting into bars…with the mixture pressed firmly into the tin I quickly flipped it out onto a board and cut it into 20 bars.
The bars of plain mixture are studded with a few dark chocolate chips.
After 18-20 minutes in the oven the bars are nicely golden and crunchy. I’m pretty sure the little people and big people will enjoy one of these in their lunch box tomorrow.
Using quick cook/instant oats in the mix helps the bars bind together. You can vary the nut and seed mix to your taste; I used chopped flaked almonds, desiccated coconut, quinoa flakes, and sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
⅔ cup wholemeal spelt flour (or other wheat free flour)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup quick cook oats
½ cup nut and seed mix
⅓ cup (65g) brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
150g butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
Optional: 1 tablespoon currants, dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Line a 20x30cm slice tine with foil.
Sift flour and combine with remaining dry ingredients. Add melted butter and egg and mix until well combined.
Press half the mixture along one side of the foil-lined tin. Mix 1 tablespoon of currants into the remaining mixture and press this into the other side of the tin. Turn out onto a board. Cut down the long centre first, then cut each side into 10 bars; transfer the bars to the lined trays, using the side of knife to firm up any loose sides. Press a few chocolate chips into each of the plain bars.
Bake 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool on the trays. Store in an airtight container.
The lovely Riesa from our local Fructose Malabsoroption Support Group got busy quickly after I posted this recipe. She has kindly agreed to share her gluten free muesli bar substitutions with us:
“Well, I did make your muesli bars today, with a few tweaks: I used GF flour and added a bit of sorghum flour and a bit of almond meal. I used the red rice flakes, some quinoa flakes and a bit of brown rice bubbles.
I used the quantities of butter and egg that you said. I also added both currants and choc chips.
When I mixed it all together, it was all very soft and sloppy, so after pressing the mixture into the foil lined tin, I put the mixture into the fridge for 10 minutes and then cut it into bars. Perfect!
The muesli bars turned out beautifully and as I was rushing off to work, I took 2 of them straight out of the oven. When they had cooled, I ate first one and then the other…I just couldn’t stop. They are utterly delicious.”