18 Oct 2012
Vegan MoFo 2012 – Packin’ snacks #2: Oat Bars from Vive le Vegan!
The search for the perfect muesli bar
Day two of the snack preparation posts. Today it’s all about muesli: Easy Pleasin’ Oat Bars from Dreena Burton’s Vive le Vegan!
I’ve already made muffin tops from the first of Dreena’s cookbooks, and hopefully I’ll feature more of her titles before Vegan MoFo is done.
Vive le Vegan! is Dreena Burton’s second cookbook and I can always depend on her recipes to use healthy, whole food ingredients.
This cookbook was published while Dreena was raising her two young children, so it does have a general focus on providing family-friendly meals that are still nutritionally balanced. I’ve actually recommended Vive le Vegan! to a few parents, specifically because of the handy charts and foods for each stage of a child’s development.
Recipes that have been my own repeat favourites include many of the soups, particularly the chipotle black bean. Dreena’s recipe for creamy hummus is also my go-to hummus. It always impresses.
But back to my snack search…specifically for an easy bar, slice or tray-bake.
I perused the ‘Sweets & Treats’ section and was drawn to the fudgy brownies. Yes, they’re good but I’ve made them before.
Anyway, brownies are too rich for what I had in mind. I wanted something fairly low-fat and wholesome. I searched back through the ‘Muffins, Baked Goods and On-the-Go Snacks’ chapter. Bingo!
Easy Pleasin’ Oat Bars
I’ve been on the hunt for a good base for muesli bar for a while, so I’m not sure how I’ve missed this recipe before.
The base ingredients include ground oats, regular oats, cinnamon, maple syrup, fruit sweetener, almond milk (I ran out and used almond + rice), vanilla and just a tablespoon oil.
The fruit sweetener in the recipe was noted as simply any ‘thick honey alternative’. I guess I could have used more maple syrup or agave but I chose to use Sweet Freedom which is marketed as a honey alternative, derived from fruit.
After the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together I could have baked these as-is, but I liked Dreena’s suggestion to throw in optional extras.
I added chopped dried apricot, vegan white chocolate chips, slivered almonds and a touch of almond essence.
I then pressed the mix into a tray and baked for about 20 minutes.
Once cooled, these were sliced into bars. I got 12 out of this batch.
The muesli bars were a little crunchy on the outside but fairly chewy inside. They held together a lot better than some of the oat bars I’ve tried in the past. I guess that’s in part due to the ground oats which I haven’t used before.
It might have been the white chocolate (sweeter than expected), Sweet Freedom or a combination, but the bars were a bit on the sugary side. I think this recipe is a great base to start mixing my own muesli bars, however I’ll be mindful of my add-ins next time and adjust the sugar.
Still, these made a fine conference snack. Great with a cuppa… but just not too close to breakfast time :)