I’m obviously into bars lately… no, not THAT kind! The kind you eat… muesli bars like these chocolate chip orange muesli bars. Mark did give Theda a start the other day though, when he was describing our evening at the “tapas” bar with friends last Friday night. He was eating a muffin as he spoke and somehow “tapas” came out sounding like another word that goes with “bar” and it made Theda look at her mother in a whole new light. Luckily I was on hand to do a quick muffin-free translation and save my virtue in my teenage daughter’s eyes!
But I digress… onto the muesli bars!!
I’m always appalled at the levels of sodium, unhealthy fats, and refined sugars that seemingly “healthy” store-bought muesli bars contain. Most brands use partially (or fully!) hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup… these ingredients are highly processed, add no nutritional value, and should have no place on the grocery store shelves- or in your body, for that matter!
Good thing it’s so easy to make your own…
Just mix up your dry ingredients (oats, crisp rice cereal, sunflower seeds, dried orange peel, & chocolate chips)…
Melt your honey, peanut butter, & coconut oil until smooth…
Mix it all together… then press it into a tin and bake! That’s it, so easy!
Score the bars when they first come out of the oven to make it easier to cut them perfectly later. But don’t try to cut them all the way, or worse, take them out of the pan, until they’re completely cooled, or they’ll fall apart. Not like I’ve ever done this! But your patience will be rewarded, I promise. Your bars will cut easily into perfect strips for packing into lunches or for quick breakfasts on the go.
These bad boys are high in fiber from the oats, high in protein from thanks to the peanut butter & sunflower seeds, and lower in sugar than most bars. If you need them to be gluten free, make sure you buy certified gluten-free oats. They can easily be nut-free by subbing in sunflower seed butter (sunbutter) for the peanut butter. And you can lower the overall fat content by leaving out the chocolate chips… but honestly, who would do that?? Just kidding… feel free to play around with the extra ingredients according to what you like: dried cranberries, almonds, coconut chips… anything goes!
Chocolate Chip Orange Muesli Bars
½ cup honey
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup natural peanut butter (sub sunflower butter for nut-free)
1 t. vanilla extract
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup crisp rice cereal
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup unsweetened dried orange peel
¼ cup chocolate chips
Heat oven to 180. Line a square tin with parchment. In a small saucepan, combine oil, honey, & peanut butter and heat over low flame until honey is liquefied and peanut butter is melted. Stir in vanilla extract.
Combine oats, cereal, seeds, dried orange peel, chocolate chips, & salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the honey mixture to the oat mixture and stir to combine. Transfer quickly to the prepared pan and press it in evenly & firmly.
Bake for 13-15 minutes or until bars are golden brown around the edges, then cool on a rack. Score into bars while still warm, then cool completely before removing from pan. Chill thoroughly, then cut gently along the score lines.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes about 14 bars.