Friday, April 6, 2012

Muesli Bars and Easter Chocolates

My girls love muesli bars. They love everything about them: oats, seeds, any type of dried fruit, nuts, you name it. I sometimes buy commercial muesli bars just so I have some on hand, but I am trying to minimise the amount of processed food we all eat so I've been more disciplined in making my own muesli bars lately. Apologies for blowing my own trumpet, my muesli bars taste pretty damn good, but as a result hubby and I tend to eat a little more than we should. Never the less, I would prefer we were all eating homemade snacks rather than shop-bought ones so I'll have to work a little harder on that self-control.

My good friend Amber at Feather on a Breeze gave me her recipe one day when we were both complaining about not being able make muesli bars that held together as well as commercial ones. I took her recipe and changed it to suit our tastes. While the ingredients sometimes vary, depending on what I have on hand, this is the most common combination:

125g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1/3 cup raw sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup sunflower kernel and pepita mix
1/3 cup currants
2/3 cup wholemeal self raising flour
  1. Preheat oven to 130C (fan forced).
  2. Melt butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan over low heat until butter is melted and sugar is just about dissolved (it isn't imperative that the sugar is completely dissolved, and you can do this step in the microwave if you're short of time).
  3. Combine butter mixture with all other ingredients and mix to combine.
  4. Turn mixture out into a lined 20cm x 20cm cake tin and press down to flatten. Wetting your hands a little helps with this.
  5. Bake for up to an hour, until golden brown on the top. (I've never been game enough to leave it in for the full hour but it does hold together better the longer it's baked, just be careful not to let the top burn.)
  6. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting.
A batch rarely lasts more than a couple of days in this house, but it will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

I wanted to make some chocolates for easter this year, but didn't get organised and couldn't find any easter moulds in time. I really should order some online now just so I have them for next year. I did however find some cute silicone ice cube trays for next to nothing in Big W. I've used silicone trays to make chocolates before and they work really well so I splurged and bought 3 (for the grand total of $3.50).

This afternoon I melted down 200g of Callebaut 811 dark (54%) callets and 200g of Callebaut 823 milk (34%) callets. I find this combination doesn't offend those not in love with dark chocolate, but is a little more grown up than a plain milk chocolate. I poured a little of the melted chocolate into both the star and the heart moulds, then in the centre of each star I placed a whole hazelnut. In the centre of each heart I placed a whole macadamia nut and then poured some more chocolate in the moulds to cover the nuts. To the remaining melted chocolate I mixed slivered almonds, then filled each cross mould. These didn't take too long to set in the fridge and the results, while not particularly eastery, are cute and delicious (I have sampled one of each so can vouch for all of them).

I haven't been game enough to give chocolate tempering a try yet, so you'll have to forgive my chocolates for their not so glossy finish. In saying that, the stars still reflect a bit of light. We're having an egg (or star, heart and cross) hunt with the littlies on Sunday. I'm sure they won't judge me for my lack of tempering skills.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe easter. Try not to eat too much chocolate!


  1. Great looking chocolates Pam, yum! Thanks for linking up to my blog, glad your still enjoying the muesli bars :)

    1. A little too tasty too Amber, I've had to put them in the freezer so I don't eat them all at once.

  2. tempering... the one thing I fear the most.

    1. I've always got a child between my legs or wanting to help, so getting the temperature exact is tricky. I've only ever attempted fudge when they've been asleep for the same reasons. Maybe one day :)

  3. Your muesli bars look fantastic, Pam! And the Easter choccies look delicious - I used the exact same blend this year - half 811 and half 823 - and everyone loved the dark milk!

    1. Thanks Celia. The dark/milk combo is a great combination isn't it. Just a little deeper than plain milk.