Cardamom and Dark Chocolate Muesli Bars

April 7, 2014

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I could lose myself for hours watching the afternoon light in my kitchen. It flickers gently through the window, delicately decorating whatever is in reach and commanding me to capture its dance. The light moves and I move. My cluttered bowl of onions and garlic, a bag of coffee beans or bottle of olive oil, dishes, even…dirty ones, I don’t care, it all looks like art in the afternoon light.

Cardamom and dark chocolate muesli bars sound terribly fancy, but I assure you this is not an ornate recipe. Despite the somewhat exotic ingredients, these bars are humble in their sweetness. Though I do adore the occasional burst of bitter dark chocolate leaping over the cardamom. Upon first bite I thought they might need a little something extra, but the more I ate these muesli bars the more I appreciated their tone and so I kept them honest.

My original attempt at this recipe came out of a desire to use up egg whites leftover from making pots de creme, which greedily requires only the yolk and which indeed I will be sharing with you soon. I had considered making Rosa’s Almond Biscotti (love) but felt this to be an awkward gift for my host that evening, Rosa. Instead I crafted a muesli bar (two different versions, in fact) for happy snacking. And while I wasn’t overly taken with these initial bars, I decided to roll with it and work on my cardamom concoction. I apologise to Rosa and her family, my parents and farm friends too, for the fact that they received this first draft and not the final version I am sharing with you today because, well, I think they’re rather wonderful.

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These bars are excellent fuel for those days when you need to work through the afternoon but are not quite certain how you’re going to make it. If this sounds familiar, I encourage you to nibble on one of these cardamom dark chocolate muesli bars after a short walk outside in the fresh air and trust me, you’ll be set. If a cup of black coffee happens to appear alongside, well… let’s just cheers to productivity.

I appreciate a muesli bar that isn’t too crumbly, and these lovelies hold together nicely. A few things are key to this, I feel. Be sure to not have a mixture that is neither too dry nor too wet – it should feel moist but not soggy. Once firmly packed into a baking tray, I like to let the bars sit in the fridge for 15 minutes or so to help things meld together. And do most certainly allow your bars to cool entirely before slicing. These are my tips for nicely firm muesli bars. If, however, yours turn out to be a crumbly mess, simply crush the mixture keenly with the intention of popping it back into the oven to allow for golden toasting and, sure enough, you will have yourself granola. The dark chocolate may make things a bit messy if you end up in granola town, though I doubt this would displease many.

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Dark Chocolate and Cardamom Muesli Bars

Makes 12-14 bars, depending on how conservatively you slice them. Inspired by Oh She Glows’ Soft and Chew Granola Bars. Note: these bars are not too sweet. If you prefer a less subtly sweet bite, add another tablespoon of honey to the mix.

Ingredients
1 & 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup Almonds (unsalted)
1/3 cup Walnuts (unsalted)
1/3 cup Cashews (unsalted)
2 tablespoons Sunflower Seeds
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
75g Dark Chocolate, >70% cocoa (I used 85% Lindt dark chocolate)
1/3 cup Honey
2 tablespoons hulled Tahini (you can use unhulled tahini but I find it too bitter for my tastes)
1 & 1/2 teaspoon freshly Ground Cardamom (green cardamom pods, bashed with a mortar & pestle until you have a powder of freshly ground cardamom at the bottom. Pick out the pod skins and discard).
1 tablespoon Light Olive Oil
3 Egg Whites
1 tablespoon Water


Method
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a 15x25cm baking pan with baking paper.
2. In a food processor, blitz 1 and 1/2 cups of the oats until they are fine, then place the oat flour in a mixing bowl.
3. Add the almonds, walnuts and cashews to the food processor and blitz/pulse until roughly chopped (a mix of fine and chunky pieces is great). Add this to the bowl with the salt.
4. Warm the honey, tahini, ground cardamom and olive oil in a small saucepan, whisking until smooth. Pour onto the oat/nut mixture.
5. Add the egg whites and stir to combine. Check for wetness here and add 1 tablespoon of water or so if required (you want the mixture to be moist but not soggy).
5. Blitz/pulse the dark chocolate in the food processor until you have a mix of fine and chunky pieces. Fold the chocolate through the oat mixture.
6. Pour into the lined baking tray, pressing down with the back of a spoon (tip: moisten the back of the spoon with water) to ensure firm packing and a smooth, even surface. Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden and the surface feels firm to touch. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from the baking tray by lifting the baking paper and allow to cool on a wire rack. Slice when completely cool into bars and then store in an airtight container or wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. I like to keep mine in the freezer for freshness sake.

 

Heidi xo

 

 

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  • Kitchen Diva April 7, 2014 at 6:50 am

    What a way to start the week Heidi – I haven’t even got out of bed and already I’m planning to hit the kitchen! Just one question did you crush the whole cardamom pod or just the seeds? And did you use green or black cardamom? Sorry that’s two questions – thanks as ever for a most interesting post…

    • Heidi April 7, 2014 at 8:28 am

      Oh excellent! I used green cardamom, bashed the beauties using my mortar & pestle & used the powder remaining at the bottom after picking out the skins. Hope that helps, will update the recipe now, thank you x

  • Georgia April 7, 2014 at 7:27 am

    I liked the ones at the farm! So if these ones are better than that, they must be amazing xx

    • Heidi April 7, 2014 at 8:30 am

      I miss you, farm friend! Give me a text. Oh & thanks a bunch 🙂 x

  • Yasmeen | Wandering Spice April 7, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    They sound fantastic, just what I’m needing at the moment… need a change from my usual snack of raw nuts at work, and I think these will keep me going longer! Plus, chocolate, of course. Highly necessary.

    • Heidi April 8, 2014 at 11:39 am

      Highly necessary. Thanks, lovely x

      • Yasmeen August 9, 2014 at 1:02 pm

        Hey love, I’m making these today! Off to the store now and I’ll let you know how they turn out (beautifully I’m sure). xx

  • Mariam April 8, 2014 at 10:50 am

    What a divine lunchbox treat this would make! I love that you grind up some of the oats too! Can I use 2 whole eggs instead of the whites as I haven’t had the pleasure of making a rich yolky dessert recently!

    • Heidi April 8, 2014 at 11:40 am

      I haven’t tried that so cannot say, but I do believe they would be quite different. The egg whites are simply a binding agent, whereas the yolk would add more fat and 2 of them would surely alter the flavour. Worth a try, though. However I’m always keen on having some extra egg yolks on hand. Mixed with a couple of whole eggs, they make a delicious rich omelette! x

      • Mariam April 9, 2014 at 9:17 am

        Ok looks like I’ll make it with just the whites then make some custard, or ice-cream if I’m bothered… win win!

        • Heidi April 10, 2014 at 10:47 am

          Totally! x

  • julia @ Chic To Do April 8, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    These look yummy – I love cardamom, such an underrated spice1

    • Heidi April 10, 2014 at 10:50 am

      I’m certifiably obsessed x

  • Iron Chef Shellie April 8, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    ahhhh sunlight, it’s something that makes me happy 🙂
    These look amazing, shall have to try make some to keep me awake at work! x

    • Heidi April 10, 2014 at 10:50 am

      Thanks, lovely lady! x

  • Sahna April 10, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Oh yes Heidi, I have been waiting patiently for these to appear ever since I saw them on instagram – I think about museli and various oat concoctions way more than is normal. I can’t wait to try these because dark chocolate and cardamon is a combination sent from the gods. I also have been drooling over this recipe for orange, date and almond butter museli bars this morning and thought you would like, (ahem… needs more cardamon):
    http://asweetspoonful.com/2014/02/a-whirlwind.html#more-4222.
    I got Megan’s book, Whole Grain Mornings and it’s completely delightful. You would love it. A book full of breakfast recipes, be still my beating heart!

    see you on insta! -Sahna

    • Heidi April 10, 2014 at 10:51 am

      Yes! Thank you, I had bookmarked that recipe. Her book is definitely on my list, it looks divine, great to know you love it!! So much muesli love over here, don’t worry 😉 x

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  • Lyf August 10, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    You got me at the mention of tahini and the promise of the ‘not so sweet’. However I know I won’t ever use the yolks if I keep them. Can I bind with chia eggs instead?

    • Heidi August 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      You can certainly try! I cannot say as I’ve never done that with this recipe. My only concern would be that it’d make the mixture too wet, but perhaps add some flaxmeal to the mix to help that (and further bind everything) or almond meal or extra oats. Let me know if you try it! x

  • Lyf August 16, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    I made them this morning and I followed my intuition using 2 chia eggs. It worked! It’s delicious with just the right amount of sweetness. You nailed the ratios Heidi, best thing about them is their adaptability so people can switch around the nuts, sweetener etc. The tahini is a keeper though. Just letting you know you might want to clarify if people need 2 cups of oats or just 1.5. (I just used 1.5 of oats grounded up).

    • Heidi August 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks for picking that up, Lyf, I just fixed the ingredients!! Thrilled it worked with a chia egg, yay! Super happy you like the recipe, thank you for all your feedback, I appreciate it x

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  • Chez May 11, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Heidi, I made this recipe yesterday to take to the park for a 50th birthday brunch. They were demolished with much praise! Thanks for a great recipe.

    • Heidi May 12, 2015 at 11:57 am

      Woohoo, Chez!! Thank you so much for letting me know, it makes me super happy to read that 🙂 So glad they were demolished x

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    Hi Heidi I just want to say how much I adore these muesli bars. I made them a couple of times recently, occasionally playing around with ingredient ratios but they always seem to work at the end. I always use chia eggs. Clearly this recipe is a reader favourite.

    • Heidi December 27, 2015 at 8:09 am

      Thanks Lfy, that’s really nice of you to say. And great to know re the chia egg! x

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