Chewy Coconut Muesli Bars with Figs and Almonds

There is a window of time about 15-20 minutes long between when my blood sugar dips and hunger takes over. If something is not consumed within this time (anything – a single large Brazil nut – something) I become downright unpleasant. It’s like I’m possessed by some crotchety old spirit. Except it’s just me being…extremely disagreeable.

Have you seen those Snicker’s commercials? All of the sudden I’m an extremely sassy version of Aretha Franklin that you DO NOT want to be in the car with. (For the record, I would LOVE to be Aretha Franklin all day every day. But I don’t want to detract from the example.)

That’s real life.

I’ve learned to harness this monster (a Joe Pesci-like monster) by carrying snacks with me at all times. Most of the time it’s a piece of fruit and some homemade trail mix I keep in my purse. But sometimes I get a little fancy.

This is my go-to muesli bar recipe. Great for long car rides, picnics, brown-bagged lunches and safely escaping the hunger window. I love their soft and chewy bite, toasted coconut flavor and the fact that they’re easily adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand.

There’s no baking involved, they can easily be made vegan, they’re cheap and you know exactly what’s in them. They also happen to be a favorite of Mr. F’s, so I like to think that they make up for all the times I’ve turned into ArethLeah.

When I first started making these I used butter to keep them together, but I think I prefer the coconut oil version – adding an extra layer of coconut flavor. (I’ve started putting coconut butter on these babies too – I’m a woman obsessed.) The day I made them the texture was slightly crumbly but after another day or two in the fridge they were perfect – becoming slightly dense, chewy, oat-fruit-and-nut-packed squares of coconutty goodness.

Chewy Muesli Bars
– 1 cup rolled oats
– 1 cup shredded dessicated coconut
– 1/3 cup wheat germ
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1/2 cup coconut oil (or melted butter)
– 1/3 cup honey or maple
– pinch of sea salt

Optional add-ins (feel free to swap any of these out for what you have on-hand)
– 1/3 cup dried fruit (I used: figs and golden raisins
– 1/4 cup chopped nuts ((I used: almonds)
– 1/4 cup seeds (I used: sunflower seeds)

Add-in suggestions:
– dried cranberries, cherries, currents, blueberries, chopped dried apricots
– chocolate chips or chunks
– walnuts, macadamias, peanuts, cashews, pecans
– pepitas, sesame seeds

Line a 9 x 9 inch (23 cm) baking pan with parchment paper.

In a large pan mix oats, coconut, wheat germ and cinnamon and toast over a medium-low heat until coconut is fragrant and has turned slightly golden.

Remove from heat and place in a large bowl – allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Mix in sea salt and desired nuts, fruits and seeds.

In a small sauce pan, warm or melt coconut oil (depending on what form it’s in) and honey over a medium heat. Allow oil and honey to simmer for about 5 minutes and remove from heat.

Pour oil mixture over the oats mixture. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly coated in the coconut oil and honey. Pour into the prepared pan and press down with the back of a wooden spoon to evenly distribute the mixture.

Allow to sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours, but ideally over night. Cut into squares and store in the fridge for about a week.