These muesli bars came into my family’s lives after much trial-and-error trying to make healthy lunch box treats that both of my boys liked. Win-win-win-win though, as all four of us in the family LOVE them! They need to be stored in the freezer to ensure the perfect texture, but they still work as lunch box treats as they are always the first thing to be devoured at morning tea time before they have time to defrost fully! You can buy oat flour to use in these if you like, but I find oats are one of those ingredients most people have on hand as a pantry staple, and making your own oat flour is mighty easy…and bonus, it is much cheaper to make your own!
Wholegrain rolled oats are an excellent source of fiber, including the powerful soluble fiber, beta-glucan. Beta-glucan has been studied extensively and linked to potential health benefits for its ability to help lower cholesterol levels, decrease inflammation, improve blood sugar management, and more. Like other types of soluble fiber, beta-glucan slows the passage of food as it travels through your intestines. This increases how long it takes your body to digest food, which can keep you feeling full for longer. Beta-glucan also helps to slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, which can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and improve blood sugar regulation.
2 ¾ cups of wholegrain rolled oats
1 packed cup of Medjool dates (pitted)
¼ cup of smooth cashew butter (almond butter also works well)
4 ½ tablespoons of maple syrup or agave syrup
1 tablespoon of vanilla essence
½ teaspoon of sea salt
1 1/4 cup of dark chocolate, roughly chopped into chunks
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- Cover the dates in hot water for 10 minutes to help soften them.
- Meanwhile, blend the oats in a food processor to create a smooth whole-meal flour consistency.
- Remove the dates from the water, and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Add the cashew butter, dates, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt to the pulverized oats. Mix in the food processor until the mixture turns into a sticky dough-like texture and look.
- Transfer the dough into a large bowl and then fold in ½ cup of the chocolate chunks into the mixture.
- Line a 20 x 10cm loaf pan with unbleached parchment paper, leaving some of the paper hanging over the sides of the tin.
- Spread the mixture onto the pan, and smooth it out into all corners until evenly spread across the pan.
- Put the pan into the freezer for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the remaining chocolate using the double boiler method on the stove top, or simply microwave for 20 seconds, then stir. Repeat two times until it is fully melted.
- Remove from the freezer and lift the cookie dough out of the pan with the parchment paper.
- Drizzle the melted chocolate onto the slice and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Return to the freezer for about 10 minutes to reset the chocolate, and then slice the dough into bars or squares.
- Store the slice in the freezer and enjoy whenever takes your fancy over a 3-week period (not that I think they will have any chance at not being devoured by then!)