Banana, Fig and Walnut Bars

April 18, 2015

8

We all need a reliable muesli bar recipe in our repertoire.

I’ve made my fair share of bars over the years, stocking our freezer with my snacking experiments. It’s a favourite past time of mine, one that I get a bit carried away with. But the whole family benefits. Before going to bed it’s a case of asking a question and defrosting an answer. “Do you want a brownie or muesli bar for tomorrow’s snack?” Though there is now precisely zero space in our freezer for ice-cube trays, so we are on the hunt for a good standalone freezer. And so, along with “brownie or muesli bar?” we’re deciding on “chest or upright freezer?”. Please send any recommendations you might have your way. I’m a little lost in our options. Though one question I’m no longer asking is “when will I find my perfect muesli bar recipe?”…

For a fast, peanutty bar I adore Dana’s no-bake version, and after weekend ice-cream escapades, leftover egg whites get repurposed into my cardamom and dark chocolate bars. But neither of these bars were my “ideal, everyday bar”. While the no-bake version is wonderfully simple, I tend to be pro-bake when it comes to muesli bars. And though delicious, I don’t always want chocolate chips in my muesli bar, nor do I always have leftover egg whites. So I kept searching, combining and creating, freezing and snacking. Well, friends, I think I’ve found my ideal, everyday muesli bar.

It’s a tahini, banana and nut bar that is neither too cakey nor tooth-sharpeningly crunchy, and certainly not too sweet. It’s my ideal bar, with everyday ingredients I have on hand in my pantry, ready to be mixed and baked and frozen. And because this growing a human business means I am snacking 57 times per day, and I need tasty, wholesome bites at the ready.

Ben and I have devoured multiple variations of these bars, mixing up the nut and dried fruit content. I favour walnuts though almonds are great and perfectly crunchy. I appreciate both dried figs and dried dates equally (as they’re often the two bigger, stickier dried fruits you can easily find without preservatives), and what I add depends on my pantry and my mood. As I mentioned, these are my ideal, everyday bars, so while I hope you like them too, feel free to take notes of the proportions, keep the weight measurements right and be sure to let them cool before you cut into them (otherwise it’s crumble town). Mix up your ingredients to suit your preferences. A custom muesli bar is a pretty rad thing.

Happy snacking, friends.

10

 

Banana, Fig and Walnut Bars

Makes 10 bars. I used a pan that was 16.5 x 18.5cm.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons Flaxmeal (ground flaxseeds) + 3 tablespoons warm water
1 cup Rolled Oats
100g (~1 cup) chopped Walnuts
2 tablespoons Sunflower/Pumpkin Seeds
1 tablespoon Chia Seeds
90g (a keen 1/2 cup) chopped Dried Figs
1 large, very ripe Banana (aim for 190g skin on, 120g skin off)
2 tablespoons runny, hulled Tahini
1 tablespoons runny Honey
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line your baking tray with baking paper or foil, with some sides hanging out to help you remove the bars later.
2. Combine the flaxmeal and warm water in a small mixing bowl. Stir to combine then let it sit and thicken for 15 minutes. This will become your binder in place of an egg.
3. In a large bowl, add the oats, walnuts, sunflower/pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, figs, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine.
4. Mash the banana into a separate, smaller mixing bowl, then add it to the larger mixing bowl, along with the tahini, honey and flaxmeal/water mixture. Give everything a really good stir with a wooden spoon so that everything is incorporated and the dry ingredients are now wet.
5. Pour the mixture into the baking tray, packing it very tightly, pressing down with the moist back of a large spoon. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden on top and firm to touch. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before lifting the bars out using the sides of the baking paper. Cool on a wire rack until completely cool (this is very important – do not cut the bars while still warm). Cut into bars and wrap individually in plastic wrap so you can snack for days to come. Then go make brownies.

 

Heidi xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Katy April 18, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Morning Heidi. We bought a chest freezer for when baby number 2 came. I had frozen everything in there!!! Kept us going for 3 months. I bought a small chest freezer off gumtree for $100. I’d definitely prefer an upright for finding lots of small things. I had a few good techniques. I bought aluminium BBQ trays and made lasagnes and put them directly into it. I added some extra water and let it sit for a few hours to absorb flavours and water. Then use a extra large zip lock bag to put lasagne tray in!!

    • Katy April 18, 2015 at 8:34 am

      I’m such a nerd here is also a list of foods that freeze well. I made the majority of these for when baby came. Most of the dishes like lasagne and pasta bake I actually left uncooked and froze them prepared but “raw”. I defrosted them for a few hours on the counter. Then put directly in oven in the BBQ trays and they cooked great.

      Freezer food ideas
      Lasagne
      Chicken lasagne with ricotta
      Moroccan lamb slow cooker
      Tomato sauce for pasta
      Lamb saag
      Beef curry
      Meatballs
      Spag Bol
      Hamburger
      Beef stroganoff
      Sweet and sour pork
      Chicken tikka
      Meatloaf – uncooked
      Chicken meatballs
      Spicy ginger pork meatballs
      Uncooked stir fry
      Pumpkin ricotta pine nut spinach lasagne
      Potato gratin
      Savoury muffins
      Vege burgers
      Pizza scrolls

      Muffins
      sliced scones
      Banana bread

      • Heidi April 19, 2015 at 4:22 pm

        Katy this is amazing, thank you!! I so appreciate your advice. I am SO excited to cook & bake & freeze 🙂 Very helpful, thanks x

  • Hannah April 18, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    I can soon bake again!!!!1!!1!!!!11!1!!! ps see you soon <3

    • Heidi April 19, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      Yeah you can!! x

  • Belinda April 19, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Heidi, do you buy hulled or unhulled Tahini? Didn’t know which to buy today! x

    • Heidi April 19, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      I prefer hulled for the flavour, it’s less bitter & generally more yummy in my opinion! & as this recipe says in the ingredients part, I used hulled here. Maybe just add more sweetener if you bought unhulled 😉 x

  • dixya@food, pleasure, and health April 20, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    these look wonderful…i made stovetop granola today…because i love experimenting and stocking on homemade goodies..this is so going to happen and i really appreciate you using easy to find pantry ingredients. do you think i can substitute figs for dates?

    • Heidi April 20, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Dixya, that’s great you made the stovetop granola! Indeed you can use dates instead of the figs, I mention that in the post 🙂 Happy baking x

  • Julia @ Chic To Do April 20, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    These museli bars sound great! I’ve been looking for a failsafe homemade recipe for ages as my husband eats his breakfast on the go in muslie bar form and the store bought ones just have so much sugar in them. Will be trying this out very soon I think!

    • Heidi April 21, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      Yay! Hope he likes them 🙂 x

  • Hannah April 21, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Oh yum Heidi !!! Mum just went for a shop and I’ve added dried figs and flaxmeal to the list 😉 Excited to make them xx

    • Heidi April 21, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      Woohoo!! Let me know how they go x

  • Maggie April 21, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Hi Heidi! I do not have any tahini-is there any substitutions i can make, or do I need to go buy it?

    • Heidi April 21, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      You can definitely use peanut butter or other nut/seed butter. I haven’t tried it but I doubt it’d impact the flavour substantially, it’s not a huge amount 🙂 x

  • lynsey | lynseylovesfood April 22, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    i wish i could comment on the freezer situation but i feel any freezer stocked with these snacking experiments will do the trick!! xo

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  • Hayley January 8, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Heidi, could I use almond meal instead of flaxsmeal for this recipe?

    • Heidi January 9, 2017 at 9:03 am

      Hi Hayley 🙂 The flaxmeal + water acts as a binder, an egg replacer! You could use chia seeds in place and give that a go. Or an egg! x