Energy bars, granola bars, breakfast bars, protein slices, oat bars, nutrition bars, sports bars, muesli slices... they're all names for a dense, biscuity, baked slice that generally incorporates oats, nuts, seeds, honey and dried fruits. It's the perfect breakfast or snack for the on-the-run generation. In Sydney, long-time baker Sophia Alexander of wholesalers Munja Bakehouse spent five years creating her best-selling FNG (fig/nut/grain) muesli slice. "It's all about getting the balance and the texture right," she says.
200g rolled oats, not instant
100g almonds, skin-on
10 dates or prunes, stoned
2 tbsp apple or orange juice
100g peanut or other nut butter
100ml honey or maple syrup
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp coconut oil
60g sunflower seeds
60g pumpkin seeds plus 1 tbsp extra
60g dried cranberries or currants
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp shredded coconut
1. Heat the oven to 160C. Bake the oats and almonds for 15 minutes until toasty, then cool. In a food processor, whiz 50 grams of the oats to a powder. Roughly chop the almonds. Chop the dates and soak in the apple juice for 10 minutes.
2. Combine the peanut butter, honey, brown sugar and coconut oil in a pan and gently heat, stirring, until melted, then set aside.
3. Combine powdered oats and chopped almonds with remaining oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, cacao powder and sea salt, tossing well. Add the melted honey mixture and the date/apple juice mixture, mixing really well with your hands.
4. Lightly oil a 20cm x 20cm baking pan and line with baking paper. Press the mixture into the pan, pressing and tamping it down well. Scatter with coconut and extra pumpkin seeds, pressing them in lightly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, then remove and allow to cool and harden. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container for up to five days.