Peanut Butter and Millet Muesli Bars
How does one come to name a recipe? If there are more than a few notable ingredients, how may you settle on an appropriate title, one which does not lag, overwhelm or distract? This is my current conundrum, as I am faced with these delightful muesli bars. I could pronounce them to be 'Walnut, Almond, Oat, Millet and Bran Bars with Peanut Butter, Honey, Vanilla, Currants, Cinnamon and a little Salt', but that would be just silly, wouldn't it? 'Almond Currant Bars' sounds lovely but doesn't really reflect their true, presiding flavour. 'Peanut Butter Oat Bars'? Ahh, dare I say I feel it's a little 'done'. So I find myself with the present title, 'Peanut Butter and Millet Muesli Bars'. 'Peanut Butter' as they do contain a hefty dose of the good stuff, and certainly sing a strong, proud, peanutty chorus. 'Millet' deserves second place, as although it is not the principle grain in terms of abundance, its unique quality and spritely texture warrant a headline. While cooking millet with water on the stove (as you would other grains) allows for a more absorbable nutrient profile, I just love the crunch raw millet provides in baked goods. And finally, 'Muesli Bars' as this encourages lunchbox consumption, which is precisely what I intended. There...maybe it's not so difficult to name a recipe after all.
I made these bars for my dear friend who has just started her postgraduate degree in Medicine. Well, the first batch I made I gifted some to her. This recipe has undergone a bit of tweaking since its crumbly start. Anyway, to say my friend is a little busy is an understatement. Between university, travel, study, and, oh, raising a toddler, I dare say she has little time to bake muesli bars. But she deserves muesli bars and many of them. And so I made her a batch.
I'm pretty sure these bites guarantee you an A in class.
Peanut Butter and Millet Muesli Bars
Recipe adapted from Sarah Forte's Granola Protein Bars from the divine Sprouted Kitchen cookbook.
Makes 16-24 bars, depending how big you like them.
1/3 cup Unsalted, Untoasted Walnuts, roughly chopped (you can use an alternative nut here. Peanuts work nicely)
1 cup Slivered Almonds
1 & 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1/2 cup raw Millet
1 cup Bran (I use Vogel's Ultra Bran, as it's delicious)
1/3 cup Currants
1/4 teaspoon Salt*
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 cup runny Honey
1/2 cup Natural* Peanut Butter (feel free to use any natural nut butter)
2 tablespoon Water
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
* If using regular peanut butter (i.e. with added salt and sugar), dial back the salt to a pinch only. If using natural nut butter as is recommended (i.e. without added salt and sugar) then use 1/4 teaspoon salt. If using regular nut butter, you might like to use a tad less honey and replace the reduced amount with water.
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a 30cmx20cmx3cm baking pan, allowing the baking paper to overhang so it's easy to lift the bars out. Set aside.
2. Line a large baking tray with baking paper and toast your walnuts, almonds, oats and millet in the oven until just golden toasty (~4 minutes, possibly longer, depending on your oven). Watch closely to ensure you don't burn them. Remove and allow to cool in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the bran, millet, currants, salt and cinnamon to the bowl. Stir.
4. Heat the honey, water, vanilla and peanut butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Pour over the oat nut mixture and stir until well combined.
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin, pressing down with a spatula to ensure even, firm packing. Bake in the oven for ~15 minutes until the top is golden and the bars firm. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
6. Once completely cooled, cut your bars into your desired size and store in an airtight container. Gift some to studious friends and store others in the freezer. Leftover crumbles make a lovely breakfast over yoghurt - muesli bars and granola in one.