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I find that muesli bars a a quick way to satisfy a rumbling stomach. The only problem is, with the amount of sugar in some of the commercial muesli bars, they should be classified as candy bars. Having said that, I’ve eaten my fair share, and I can’t believe it has taken this long to dawn on me that I should make my own. However, after seeing this recipe, I was enlighted, and proceeded to make healthy, delicious muesli bars without any artificial flavourings and ingredients which I don’t know how to pronounce. These are great for breakfast and as a snack any time of the day.

My recipe is based on Laurie’s
recipe on Carpe Season. I have adapted it to suit what I had in the pantry.

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

Makes 8 square bars

INGREDIENTS
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cups corn flakes
1/3 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raw sugar
2 tablespoons flax meal
1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
1 cup dried fruit ( I used dried apricots and dates)
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup maple syrup (I’m a fan of 100% pure maple syrup)
1/4 cup peanut butter (I used natural peanut butter – ie 100% peanuts)
1/4 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 180c.

Line a square baking tin with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, including the nuts and dried fruit. Mix with a spoon.

In a separate bowl, mix together the maple syrup, peanut batter and water. If the peanut butter is a little stiff, heat the mixture in a saucepan until melted. Pour the wet ingredients over and dry and stir with a wooden spoon.

Pour the granola mixture into the prepared baking pan and press it down with a spoon. Place into the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes.

The granola bars will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.

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This was not meant to be a banana date muffin. The ideas was conceived as a banana apricot, but alas, when I bought the bag of dried apricots home, I discovered that the bag was torn. Of course, I could have accidentally made the tear, but there was also more sinister possibilities (and I did not want to take the risk of food poisining). So, I went to the supermarket to buy another bag, but when I saw the dates next to the apricots, I didn’t need to think twice. It is long overdue, because I remember thinking I had to try this out two or three years ago (when I was in my sticky date pudding phase) but never got around to it.

All was going well in the kitchen when I discovered that I didn’t have bi-carb soda for the dates. To make up my mind whether to run out and get some, I had to find out why it is necessary to add bi-carb soda to dates. Looking at the recipe doesn’t solve the riddle, because there is no acid in it to neutralise it. According to one user of this forum , it is to “toffify” the dates. Another user added that without using bi-card soda, her dates turned out like regular dried fruit. From a technical point of view, the bi-card soda also breaks down the skin of the dates. With that in mind, I had no choice but to make a 20 minute trek to the supermarket up the road (which was actually quite pleasant on a Saturday afternoon).

Let me just say that the trek was definitely worth it. These muffins are bananary and are infused with a honey-like sweetness from the dates. The kitchen warm and the muffins smell so good. What could be a better way to ward off the oncoming winter with a muffin in hand, a book in the another, and a pot of tea brewing on the side?

Banana Date Muffins
Makes 12

1 cup seeded dates (chopped)
1/3 cup water
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 cups SR flour (I used wholemeal)
1 cup plain flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup EVOO
2 bananas (mashed)

1. Preheat oven to 180c. Grease a 12 hole muffin pan or line with patty pans.
2. Combine dates and the water in a medium saucepan, bring to boil. Remove from heat and add bicarbonate of soda. Stand for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, sift dry ingredients into a bowl, stir in date mixture and the remaining ingredients. If mixture is dry, add a little more milk. Spoon mixture into prepared pan.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Muffins are ready when the skewer comes out clean.

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