I have a sneaking suspicion that this weeks Chocolate Caramel Muesli Bar is going to be popular. I’ve had a few requests for a healthy caramel slice recipe and though it looks nothing like the sugar laden three layer slice, it is a super delicious, nourishing caramel choc treat.
As a kid I spent every weekend at my nan’s house and we cooked and baked together- a lot! Most of my childhood memories are centred around tending to our chickens and ducks, digging for potatoes (my favourite job as the kids in my favourite Enid Blighton book ‘The Faraway Tree’ used to dig for potatoes) and long sessions of cooking in her old wood-fired stove, always experimenting, always creating ‘new’ recipes and searching for delicious flavour combo’s.
However as an adult, whilst I’ve always loved cooking meals, it wasn’t until I had kids (and they started school) that I baked again. Once my youngest noticed all the biscuits and crackers her friends had in their lunchbox (and wanted the same) I realised the only thing I could do was to get my bake on again. The rest they say, is history!
A healthy-ish treat
I always try to inject as much nourishment as I can into all of my recipes, including sweet treats. I’ve made this Chocolate Caramel Muesli Bar nut-free so it’s good for the school lunchbox. The seeds and wholegrains really help to add protein, good fats and a bit of sustenance to this sweet treat. My kids feel like they’ve hit the jackpot with this slice – it’s a new favourite.
A sweet, sticky muesli bar that freezes really well for a quick, easy to pack lunchbox snack.
- 125 grams butter, cubed
- 170 grams (½ cup) sweetener (rice malt syrup, maple syrup or honey)
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
- 120 grams (1 cup approx.) mixed seeds (I used sunflower seeds and pepitas)
- 120 grams (1 cup) wholemeal spelt flour
- 200 grams (2 cups) rolled oats or quinoa flakes (or a mixture)
- 30 grams (4 tbs) raw cacao or Dutch Process cocoa
- 115 gram (⅓ cup) sweetener (rice malt syrup, maple syrup or honey)
- 120 ml (½ cup) full-fat coconut milk (I used Ayam brand)
- Good pinch sea salt
Pre-heat the oven to 180℃ / 350℉.
Begin with the caramel.
In a small pot mix the sweetener, coconut milk and sea salt and bring to a bubbling simmer. Simmer rapidly (it looks a bit foamy on top) for about 10 + minutes or until the caramel starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and allow to cool (it will further thicken as it cools).
Whilst the caramel cooks/cools, make the slice.
In a small pot melt the butter and sweetener, mixing to combine. Add the bicarb and stir well.
Place the seeds in a food processor and grind into a meal. Add the flour, oats (or quinoa flakes) and cacao and mix until well combined.
Add the butter/ sweetener mix and process to combine. The mixture should come together into a coarse dough.
Line a small tin (27cm x 18cm) with baking paper. Press ⅔ of the mixture into the base of the tin and press very down firmly with wet hands. I like to make sure the outer edges sit a little higher than the middle so I get an even coverage without the caramel making its way down the sides.
Top with the caramel. It is not a thick layer as a traditional slice would be, rather a randomly gooey, thin layer. More caramel means a lot of sugar which is why I've kept it minimal.
Crumble the remaining dough over the caramel pressing lightly.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until just golden brown.
Allow to cool in the pan, refrigerate until firm and then cut into slices (chilling it allows for it to be sliced without crumbling).
Heat the sweetener, coconut milk and sea salt, 10-15 minutes, temp varoma, speed 3 (cap ajar or off so the steam can escape) or until it thickens (this can vary a bit). You can set this aside to cool and use the bowls without washing it.
Grind your seeds and set aside. No need to rinse the bowl.
Melt the butter and sweetener 1 minute, temp 90, speed 3 or until melted and combined. Add the bicarb and mix 5 seconds speed 3. Set aside.
Add the rest of the base ingredients and the butter/sweetener and mix 15 seconds, speed 4. You may need to scrape the sides a few times to fully combine.
Assemble as above.
Airtight in the fridge or freezer. You can pack in school lunch boxes from frozen.
Substitute the spelt for gluten free flour and the oats with quinoa flakes (rolled quinoa).
Dairy-free and vegan
Substitute the butter with coconut oil.
The seeds can be substituted with any nuts. I love this with chopped hazelnuts or pecans or walnuts.
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I'd love to hear how your kids like this slice? I have a feeling it is going to be very popular.