Nutty about Nut-bars
When my kids were at school, the most popular thing in their lunchbox was an Uncle Tobys Muesli Bar.
Yep. That’s right! Not homemade hedgehog or Anzac biscuits; apricot slice or banana nut loaf, but a chewy oaty muesli bar out of a packet!! These days I’m not packing the kids lunches anymore but my husbands lunch! His new job has longer hours and he hasn’t quite worked out how to “budget” enough food to last him for the day.
These nut bars are my version of a muesli bar – minus the oats and sugar of course, and filled with plenty of nuts and protein to help sustain a grown man through the day. I don’t use peanut butter very often in my cooking but it works really well in this recipe. If your household is peanut-free, it works just as well with any other nut butter.
Peanut butter was first patented in 1884 by a Canadian pharmacist who included sugar into the paste so as to harden its consistency. I’m guessing that this explains why peanut butter is seen as a sweet condiment in the United States rather than a savoury one as it is here in Australia.
John Kellogg, of Sanitarium fame, served peanut butter to his patients who had difficulty chewing, for its high nutritional content. It is an excellent source of protein, fibre and vitamins. Peanut butter is also a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, iron and potassium. It has saturated fats: palmitic acid; and unsaturated fats: oleic and linoleic acids.
Unfortunately, most commercial peanut butters are filled with vegetable oils and sugar and salt. I prefer to make my own from dry roasted peanuts, which can be easily done in the Thermomix or food processor. I like it slightly salty while my husband prefers it unsalted. We both like it chunky though!
When I first came to Queensland, I didn’t know what people were talking about when they referred to ‘peanut paste’. In the southern states it’s called peanut butter and I have never really made the adjustment! But in other countries it is called anything from monkey butter to peanut cheese to peanut spread! Anyway, I don’t eat it much, preferring to have it spread on celery as a snack but it is really yummy in this recipe. you can always use almond butter or your favourite nut or seed butter instead.
In the rest of the recipe, I have used a mix of nuts and seeds here – feel free to omit or add any different ones, as long as the total weight comes to 250 grams. Add some chocolate chips or chopped dried cranberries for some variation.
They last very well in the fridge for at least 2 weeks, I like to wrap them individually to grab & go.
The kids, big and small, will love them!
50g sunflower seeds
20g chia seeds
30g puffed brown rice
3 tabs psyllium husks
20g desiccated or flaked coconut
30g whole buckwheat
150g nut butter (I used crunchy peanut butter)
30g coconut oil
100g honey or brown rice syrup
A few drops of stevia* (optional)
Add the almonds & macadamias to the TM bowl and pulse to roughly chop. Pour into a wide mixing bowl and add all of the other dry ingredients except the dates.
In the TM bowl mince the dates on SP 8 for 5 seconds. add the butter, honey, oil and nut butter. Cook on SP 2 at 90°C for 3 – 4 minutes. Add the stevia, if using and pour over the dry ingredients and stir well.
Press into a lined scone tray and sprinkle with some sesame seeds for garnish. Bake in a slow 150°C oven for 35 minutes until golden brown. Wait until very cold before slicing. I find it slices better if you refrigerate it overnight and then slice into bars. It will cut into 16 bars.
*Because I do not add any sugar, you may wish to add a few drops of stevia if your tribe like things extra sweet.