Peanut Butter Muesli Granola Bars & How I Accidentally Glutened Myself

by Amanda Paa on February 26, 2014

Peanut Butter Muesli Bars My favorite kinds of snacks have a few requirements: great texture, include protein + carbs for energy, and ideally a sweet + salty combo. Although I’m not deterred by a little effort, it’s a total bonus if they’re easy to transport. There are plenty of great snack options that I can buy, but doesn’t it always feel better to make your own?

Enter these Peanut Butter Muesli Granola Bars, which had been my answer to warding off the “hangries” during the last week as I am constantly writing, trying to meet my book deadline. Keyword = had.

First let me explain that I recently stumbled upon two Minneapolis food finds, Buddy’s Nut Butters and Seven Sundays Muesli. The founders and stories of both have so much passion it’s hard not to love them. But truly their products are some of the best I’ve ever had in both of those categories, so great I decided I wanted to create a recipe that included both of them.

Seven Sundays Muesli Bars I’m seriously addicted to these peanut butters you guys. Mark my words, the 24 year old local Minneapolis kid that is behind Buddy’s Nut Butters is on to something big. For this recipe I used the Cinnamon Raisin, but he’s making three other flavors too: Honey Peanut, Chocolate Peanut, and Sweet Candied Nut. At any given time during the day you’ll find me sneaking a spoonful of one them. A one bite dessert made from only the best ingredients. He sources raw Minnesota honey, the same chocolate that B.T. McElrath uses, and sea salt from the Atlantic ocean. The texture is more unique than any other nut butter I’ve ever had. They’ve got this crystallization quality, similar to what I love in some of my favorite aged cheeses.

Oh, and how genius is this: the jars are made to be stored upside down so the oil doesn’t separate like other natural peanut butters. SO much easier.

Peanut Butter Muesli Granola Bars | heartbeet kitchen Okay, so where am I going with this accidentally glutening myself thing I mentioned in the title?

I’d been taking one of the bars to work with me everyday. They were simply perfect paired to my habitual Starbucks Americano with splash of soy. But this whole week I’d also had a nagging headache, inflammation, and the nerve pain that stems from my gluten allergy. I am so careful about reading labels and inquiring about ingredients while dining out, so I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I hadn’t really eaten anything new that week besides the bars.

Just to doublecheck, I pulled the box When of Seven Sundays muesli out to scan the ingredient list again, but I was sure it was fine since one of the reasons I bought it was that the package called out it was “100% natural and wheat free, with no added oil or refined sugars.”

But wait – I reread those words again and the light bulb went on. Wheat free does not equal gluten free I mumbled to myself…….

Peanut Butter Muesli Granola Bars | heartbeet kitchen As I was going through the ingredients of the muesli more thoroughly, I found the gluten culprits – rye and barley. :( I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I just assumed it was gluten free, which I usually never do! I even have a post written on hidden sources of gluten for pete’s sake. It was completely my own mistake, although I do think “100% percent Wheat Free” is is a little misleading.

Well, lessons learned – never assume. Even those of us who are extremely careful about checking for gluten can make a mistake and accidentally make ourselves sick. I sure am feeling better now and I created a gluten free recipe for these bars too, using a mixture of rolled oats and chopped almonds in place of the muesli.

After a fair amount of tinkering to make the perfect granola bar, I think I finally did it. The texture of these is the best of both worlds. A little bit crunchy on the outside, but a tender chew once you bite into them. They don’t crumble all over your shirt either like those Nature Valley granola bars. And they certainly aren’t full of added sugar or processed ingredients, just wholesome nutrients.

In all of my experimenting, I found that brown rice syrup (which you can find at any co-op) was the best in holding the bars together and keeping them chewy. With honey and maple syrup they turned out a little crunchier and didn’t stick together as well, but if that’s all you have on hand, you can use those too.

Now go get yourself some Buddy’s Nut Butters at one of these local stores!

Peanut Butter Muesli Granola Bars

makes 12 bars

1 1/2 cups puffed millet or rice cereal
1 1/4 cups Seven Sundays Original Muesli
1/4 cup dried currants (or raisins)
1/3 cup melted Buddy’s Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter (or other nut butter) – for correct measurement, spoon out some peanut butter, melt for 15 to 20 seconds in the microwave, then measure out 1/3 cup
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Make a sling with parchment paper and line an 8×8 inch pan with it, then spray bottom and sides of pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl stir together millet, muesli, and currants. In a small bowl stir together brown rice syrup and peanut butter. Microwave for 10 seconds, stir, then microwave for another 10 seconds. Stir in vanilla and pour over dry ingredients.

Mix thoroughly so all ingredients are coated. I use my hands to help this process. Press firmly into pan using the back of a spatula. (You want to make sure you pack them firmly so they stay together when finished.) Bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven, press down on top once more with spatula and set pan on wire rack to cool completely.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter & Millet Granola Bars

makes 12 bars

1 1/2 cups puffed millet or brown rice cereal
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup almonds or cashews, chopped
1/4 cup dried currents or raisins
1/3 cup Buddy’s Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter, melted (or other nut butter) – for correct measurement, spoon out some peanut butter, melt for 15 to 20 seconds in the microwave, then measure out 1/3 cup
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Make a sling with parchment paper and line an 8×8 inch pan with it, then spray bottom and sides of pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl stir together millet, muesli, cinnamon, and currants. In a small bowl stir together brown rice syrup and peanut butter. Microwave for 10 seconds, stir, then microwave for another 10 seconds. Stir in vanilla and pour over dry ingredients.

Mix thoroughly so all ingredients are coated. I use my hands to help this process. Press firmly into pan using the back of a spatula. (You want to make sure you pack them firmly so they stay together when finished.) Bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven, press down on top once more with spatula and set pan on wire rack to cool completely.

*I was (happily) given samples of Buddy’s Nut Butter to try, but these opinions are my own. I bought the Seven Sundays muesli myself.

Katie February 27, 2014 at 8:44 am

Yum! I bought seven sunday museli and have been eating it over greek yogurt sprinkled with some pb2 so the peanut butter flavor is evenly distributed in each bite.

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amandapaa February 27, 2014 at 2:59 pm

That sounds great! I’ve never tried pb2 but I’ve heard a lot of people who like it. You should try the Buddy’s Chocolate Peanut – so good!

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Lindsey (dolly and oatmeal) February 27, 2014 at 2:42 pm

I cannot tell you how many times this, and similar things have happened to me! So true, read, read again! I love puffed millet and peanut butter, so together with the muesli I’m sure is a hit!

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amandapaa February 27, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Thanks for stopping by Lindsey! Ugh, it can be so frustrating. I think we should just stick to making bundt cakes :)

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Liesl March 3, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Sorry to hear about the gluten mix-up but I’m glad you ended up with a great GF recipe in the end. They really look delicious! I love the ease of granola bars but the store bought ones are usually so sweet and include a long list of unnecessary ingredients. These will definitely be on my to-make-soon list. :)

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amandapaa March 3, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Oh thank you! Yes, the mixup was not fun to go through, but a good reminder in the end. Just goes to show that even a careful eye can sometimes assume too much. And I agree, the ease of granola bars bought from the store is nice, but their ingredient list can be daunting. Or they can be uber expensive. Have a great week!

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Rachel @LittleChefBigAppetite March 4, 2014 at 4:53 pm

These look AMAZING! But what is most incredible is how perfectly you cut those bars!

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Cayce September 7, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Great recipe! Any idea on the shelf life of these bars, once made? Any chance they freeze well? Thanks.

Reply

Amanda Paa September 7, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Hi Cayce! Thanks for stopping by. These bars will last about 8-10 days after they’re made, but I have not tried freezing them. I think that might change the texture, especially if you make them the gluten-free way with the millet puffs. Enjoy!

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