Yeah, it is actually a thing – don’t knock it till you try it!
I have never been a huge fan of muesli bars ever since I was a kid. I would eat them if they ended up in my lunchbox, but to be honest, I would have probably preferred to swap for an apple or a Summer Roll (oooh remember those delicious, chocolate-and-coconut-covered, chewy bars of nougat dressed up as a health snack?!) Aaaah, the 80s were the best.
Anyway, I started thinking of ways to introduce new snack at home, something that veered away from the sweet side and into the savoury world. So many pre-made snacks available for kids are loaded with sugar (even the so-called savoury ones!) and it’s a minefield when you’re trying to encourage just slightly healthier consumption of food everyday. Especially to teenagers – they actually really do eat A LOT! I mean, seriously, it does not stop. Ever. (send help!)
So, I found this recipe for cheesy granola bars and made a couple of alterations (as is my wont) and OH MY LORD, the teenagers couldn’t get enough of them! They literally disappeared in a day. Not even kidding. *Note to self, triple the recipe next time. Or hide the Tupperware container.
I have made these twice – the first time they were quite thin and cracker-like, the second time I used a smaller baking tin and they turned out a lot thicker and denser, more like a bar. Both were welcomed with enthusiasm, so have a go using different sized tins and see what you (and your family/housemates) prefer!
Let me know if you have a shot at these and if you make any changes that made them even more delicious!!
200 g rolled oats
50 g pepitas
50g chia seeds
20g black sesame seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper, optional
250g tasty cheese, coarsely grated
100g parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
Preheat oven to 180°C.
In a large bowl, toss all ingredients (except the cheeses) together until well combined. Add the two cheeses and use hands to combine. Make sure all ingredients have been mixed together as evenly as possible.
Spread the mixture into a tin/pan/tray – the bigger the baking tray/tin/pan, the thinner your bars/crackers will be. It’s your choice whether to use baking paper or not – the type of pan/tray/tin you choose to use will probably determine that. Press the mixture down well to ensure everything starts to stick together – if you don’t your bars will be crumbly and fall apart.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the cheese has gone crispy and the top of the granola is golden brown.
Remove from the oven, transfer to a cutting board and cut into bars whilst it is still hot. Then let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container.