One For The Lunchbox: Fructose Free Muesli Bars



My kids have just gone back to school. There is only marginally less chaos in the house due to the toddler still being in it. But even so, there are still certain things I like about ‘Back To School’. And some things that I don’t. One thing I kind of hate is the packing of the lunchboxes. It’s a seriously thankless bit of work. My brother-in-law has referred to it as ‘soul destroying’, and I think that might be a slight exaggeration. But not a very big one.


All too often the kids come home starving, with a nearly full lunchbox in their hands. Grr. The school encourages healthy lunches, and I try to comply, but it’s a tricky business giving the kids healthy things that are appealing enough to actually make it from the lunchbox to their mouths.




Lincoln is very empathetic on this topic, and commiserates with them. He tells me that he himself didn’t eat school lunch at all, for years, until he was in grade 9 and his mother finally agreed to give him tuckshop money every day. With genetics like that do my kids have any hope at all? But honestly, if I were to give my kids tuckshop money, they would have a big sugar-fest Monday to Friday!


My kids really used to love their muesli bars… you know the store bought ones that contain a whopping great serve of fructose in each bar? Yeah. Those. And they are actually regarded by many as a healthy snack (!!). Unbelievable. But us enlightened ones know better.




Luckily muesli bars are easy to make. I found that out by accident actually, when I was trying to make a tray of anzac biscuits. (For non-Australians, an anzac biscuit is a crunchy oat and coconut cookie). I must have gotten the recipe a bit wrong, because the individual biscuits spread so far that they joined into each other, becoming a single huge rectangular one. …Which I decided to cut into smaller rectangles and call ‘muesli bars’. The kids were stoked, and loved them! So that’s what I am making today, but on purpose this time.  


Anyway, I don’t suppose that today’s bit of baking will really solve the great Lunchbox Conundrum, but perhaps it will help a little for this week.

Fructose Free Muesli Bars
With optional chocolate coating
Muesli Bars
  1. (adapted from America's Test Kitchen)
  2. 6 cups Rolled Oats (not quick oats)
  3. 1 cup desiccated coconut
  4. 1/2 cup melted butter
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (whichever you like)
  7. 1/2 cup (150 gr) rice malt syrup
  8. 2 Tbsp (40 gr) glucose syrup
  9. 3/4 cup dextrose
  10. 2 tsp vanilla
  11. 2 tsp cinnamon
Chocolate Coating
  1. (almost the same as David Gillespie's Chocolate Glaze)
  2. 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (the darker the better)
  3. 3 Tbsp water
  4. 1 cup dextrose
  5. 1 tsp glucose syrup
  1. 1. Combine oats, coconut, salt and melted butter. Mix till thoroughly coated in butter.
  2. 2. Spread evenly on a large baking/parchment paper lined oven tray. Bake at 190C (375F) for 20-25 minutes, stirring at 5-10 minute intervals.
  3. 3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, mix rice malt syrup, glucose syrup, dextrose, vanilla and cinnamon. Heat, stirring until dextrose dissolves.
  4. 4. In a large bowl, combine toasted oat mixture with syrup mixture until all is coated evenly.
  5. 5. Press mixture firmly into 2 33x23 cm (13x9 inch) baking paper lines trays, using wet (not greased) hands.
  6. 6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden.
  7. 7. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, but no longer than that, or they get too hard to cut.
  8. 8. Cut into muesli bar sized rectangles (I got 36).
Chocolate Coating
  1. 1. Fill a saucepan 1/4 full of boiling water (I use the kettle to boil water instead of the stove - it's faster)
  2. 2. In a separate (smaller) saucepan or bowl combine cocoa powder and water. Place this bowl over the saucepan of hot water. Stir till smooth.
  3. 3. Add a bit of dextrose at a time, stirring till smooth each time.
  4. 4. Once all the dextrose is used, place the saucepan of water on the stove with the bowl on top and warm gently (don't boil) stirring the mixture till the dextrose dissolves.
  5. 5. Allow the chocolate sauce to cool and thicken a bit before brushing onto the cool muesli bars.
  6. 6. Let the chocolate set (this will take several hours).
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen
Red Hill Recipes



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