Monday, 12 January 2009

Muesli Bars and Muffins

I've mentioned before that I like to make muesli muffins with the out of date muesli. I have this because every now and then I buy muesli, and eat half the packet. Then I get bored. And I hate waste, so as long as it's just a little stale and not actually gone mouldy or rancid, I'll try and use it up. If you have a good recipe for anything that includes muesli as an ingredient, do let me know.

This time I made these muesli bars and I'm going to record the recipe for future reference. But don't make them, they're not worth the effort. They came out very soft, but by the time they were cold they were nicely solid and crunchy. So that was good. But also they're rather bland, and the dried fruit on the surface is overcooked - chewy and slightly burned. See the little black dots in the picture? That's not so nice. I don't know how people solve this problem to make raisin cookies; I must look that up some time.

My Sunday morning muffins were much more successful. These were in part a use-up: I had half a cup of pumpkin puree in the freezer, leftover from the pumpkin pie experiment. That's why they're so orange. I used a similar spice mix as for the pumpkin pie: cinnamon, ginger and allspice.

While I do sometimes follow recipes, especially for tricky cases like high bran content, muffins can also be a great home for leftover odds and ends. Toss in the last of a jar of honey, that last tablespoon of syrup, some old cereal. Chop up that one dodgy apple, and chuck in the last couple of spoons of rhubarb. Whatever. I have a sort of routine that I use, which I'll put below the fold. I admit it's not perfect: it does tend to produce slightly dry muffins. I think this is because I make them low fat. But if you are eating them hot from the oven, it's not really a problem. Reheat the next day in the oven for best results, or nuke for 20 seconds. They're not so great cold.

My google-fu failed me, and I could not find a recipe for a muesli bar or slice that included muesli as an ingredient. It's all about oats and nuts and dried fruit. I found this one by googling about, and used it as a rough guide to developing my own.

Recipe 1: Muesli Bars
50g margarine
100 ml honey
100 ml golden syrup
50g brown sugar
75g plain flour
600g muesli

Preheat the oven to 180C.
In a pan over a low heat, melt together the margarine, honey, syrup and brown sugar, stirring well until all is melted.
Combine together the muesli and flour in a large bowl and then pour over the syrup mixture. Mix well.
Tip the mixture into a shallow baking tray. Press the mixture down well to get an even spread. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden. While still warm and soft, cut bar shapes with a pizza cutter.

Meh. This could work, without the fruit, to make some nice thick oaty cookies. Also, I'd add some cinnamon or something to boost the flavours.

Recipe 2: Muffin of the Week

2 cups self raising flour
2 cups liquid
Some fruit and spice and stuff

Preheat oven to 180C.
Mix everything together quickly, without over-doing it. Add a dash more milk if it's too solid.
Tip into silicon muffin pans and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

This makes 12 small ones or 6 large - the large ones only take about 5 minutes longer.

This week's implementation was:
* Liquid: 1 egg, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 50 ml maple syrup, 25 ml sunflower oil, topped up to 2 cups with light milk.
* Flour: just ordinary white self-raising.
* Fruit and stuff: 3/4 cup blueberries, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp allspice
It worked nicely.


Holly said...

hi there cath

i really enjoy your blog - and as a newcomer to canberra i've found it very handy for locating good food places.

this is the muesli bar recipe i use - but i don't think i've ever followed it properly. the best thing about it is the peanut butter, very good for binding and texture. the fruit medley is good for boosting the flavour as muesli fruit can be a bit dull. the prompt for the recipe was mistakenly buying a big bag of 'wildberry' muesli from woolworths which some fool decided should include fake berry flavour. truly horrible, but undetectable in the bars.

2 cups muesli
1/2 cup sugar (I used less but added some honey)
1/2 cup fruit medley
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 tbsp butter
2 eggs

cooking steps are similar to your recipe.

Cath said...

Ooh, peanut butter. That sounds good. Thanks. Do you cook it at a lower temperature than I used?