spiced apricot, orange + quinoa muesli bar recipe {gluten + dairy-free} + giveaway winners!

spiced apricot, orange + quinoa muesli bars {gluten + dairy-free}

It has only just recently occurred to me that I've not ever shared a muesli bar recipe on here!? This kinda shocked me as hardly a week goes by when I don't whip up some for the kids lunch boxes. The recipe always changes... Often I make these muesli-bar style cookies (using ground sunflower seeds in place of the almond meal), sometimes I make regular oat based bars with ghee and honey (both of my kids seem fine with oats, it's just me who doesn't eat them in our house), but lately this combo has been going down a treat so I thought I'd share it today.

It couldn't be any simpler, quinoa flakes, puffed millet and coconut form the base, along with a handful of sliced dried apricots and orange zest, which is all pulled together by a mellow and mildly-sweet syrup made of brown rice syrup and coconut oil. The result is a good sturdy, crunchy muesli bar that stands up to even the most thrown around of lunchboxes (my son is forever putting new cracks in his lunchbox and when I was doing parent help at school the other day I saw how! The kid swings it around and around as he walks to the playground, and sadly more often than not it gets dropped... from a height at least once a day *sigh*). 

Mama's little helper
spiced apricot, orange + quinoa muesli bars {gluten + dairy-free}
spiced apricot, orange + quinoa muesli bars {gluten + dairy-free}

Thanks to everyone who entered the Sami's Kitchen giveaway on the blog last week! The lucky 10 winners were: Adele Chenoweth, Nicola (Homegrown Kitchen), Elizabeth Aitken, JenK, Tessa, RR, Jax Miller, Marian, Rebecca (Intolerant Chef) and Cindy. If you haven't done so already can you please email me your postal address to emma(at)mydarlinglemonthyme(dot) com and I will make sure your prize gets sent straight out! Huge congrats, it's such a cool prize!! xx

Lastly, one of my photos is a finalist in the Nourish Summer Cover Competition! If you have a spare second I would love your vote, mine is photo number 3 and all it requires is a super quick little facebook 'like' over here. I need about 60+ votes to possibly win! Many thanks in advance xx

spiced apricot, orange + quinoa muesli bars {gluten + dairy-free}
spiced apricot, orange + quinoa muesli bars {gluten + dairy-free}

spiced apricot, orange + quinoa muesli bars
I use quinoa flakes for a completely gluten-free alternative, however if you tolerate oats by all means use them instead. Honey can be used in place of the brown rice syrup if preferred, however just note that the final outcome with be slightly sweeter than these. Any dried fruit can be used in place of the apricots, or leave them out if you want these to be fructose-free. You can find puffed millet in some supermarkets and healthfood stores, or use puffed brown rice (my jar of puffed millet actually had a few bits of leftover puffed rice in it, which you can kinda see in the pics!). I've left nuts out of these as our school is nut-free, but you could always chuck in a handful of chopped nuts if you like.
makes 12 bars

1 1/2 cups (150g) quinoa flakes
1/2 cup (10g) puffed millet
1/2 cup (80g) organic (unsulfured) dried apricots, finely sliced
1/4 cup (20g) shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
the finely grated zest 1/2 medium orange

1/3 cup (80ml) brown rice syrup
1/4 cup (60ml) virgin coconut oil
a good pinch fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 150C/300F. Line a 28 x 18cm slice tin with baking paper, extending up and over the sides a little. Place all the dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Place brown rice syrup, coconut oil and salt into a small saucepan and heat over a gentle heat until melted and fluid. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Turn out into the slice tin, pressing down evenly with the back of a spoon to smooth out. Bake for approx. 40 minutes or until lightly golden all over. Remove from the oven and cool, it will firm up once cold. Slice into bars using a sharp knife. Will store airtight for 4-5 days.

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  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    November 20, 2013 at 12:44 am

    These look perfect! So glad you added a bar on here ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jess Fielding
    November 20, 2013 at 1:27 am

    Is there anything you would recommend as a substitute of the apricot?

    • emma
      November 20, 2013 at 4:11 am

      It's totally up to you! Any dried fruit is good, or leave out completely for a 100% fructose-free treat. You could always throw in a handful of chopped nuts too. xx

    • cindra
      March 9, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Golden Raisins are very similar in taste to apricots in recipes.

  • Adele Chenoweth
    November 20, 2013 at 6:15 am

    These look delicious, i love granola with orange zest so these tick every box!
    Anyhow, I'm just wondering if puffed amaranth can be substituted for puffed millet, I'm not familiar with the interchangeability of these grains. Also if using honey for brown rice syrup to avoid over sweetness could the amount be reduced, perhaps 1/4 cup?

    • emma
      November 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      I don't see why puffed amaranth wouldn't work as a sub for the millet, anything 'puffed' should work ๐Ÿ™‚ Re: honey, these are really mildly sweet made with brown rice syrup, so with honey I don't think they'd be too sweet. You could try reducing the amount to 1/4 cup if you like, but as I haven't made these using honey yet I can only offer that as a suggestion xx

    • Adele Chenoweth
      November 21, 2013 at 9:48 am

      thanks heaps, i'll give them a go and let you know how they turn out with these alterations

  • Lucy @ Bake Play Smile
    November 20, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Yummo! This looks so yummy!!! xx

  • Stephanie @ Everyday Feasts
    November 20, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    these look incredible! i love the combination of apricot and orange, and in a muesli bar it's so so perfect. I can't wait to try these, thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    • emma
      November 20, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      I did think about saving the recipe for my next book… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Catherine @ chocolate & vegetables
    November 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Bookmarking…I bet this would be great hiking/camping food for us grownups!

  • Emma
    November 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Is the orange zest just for orangey zing (ie does it just blend into the overall flavour) or is it more like the rind in fruit bread? (Not a fan of rind, that's all, but these look tempting!)

    • emma
      November 20, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      Hi Emma, the orange flavour from the grated zest is nothing like candied orange peel (which you find in fruit bread, I'm not a huge fan of either!). If in doubt, you can always leave it out completely and these will still be yum ๐Ÿ™‚

  • london bakes
    November 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    My tummy is properly rumbling looking at these – I so wish I had one to snack on right now!

  • InTolerant Chef
    November 21, 2013 at 6:31 am

    I should stop being lazy and make some of these, the ones I buy at the supermarket never taste very nice. Yours sound much, much yummier! X

  • thoroughlynourishedlife.com
    November 21, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    I got sick of paying $8 a box for gluten free muesli bars so I have been making healthy muffins instead; however, there is something slightly more satisfying about a muesli bar. Thank you for sharing the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  • The Life of Clare
    November 22, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    These look delicious. I madรฉ a few muesli bars but they didn't set hard and just turned into one ginormous bar in the tin. I'll have to give these a try.

  • Sini โ”‚ my blue and white kitchen
    November 25, 2013 at 8:53 am

    I'm always on the lookout for great snacks cause I'm currently traveling by train multiple times a week. For some odd reason I've never made muesli bars before! This recipe sounds lusciuos. Have to make them soon!

    Have a great week,

  • christina @ The Hungry Australian
    November 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Gorgeous muesli bars, Emma. I love the photos of your little girl stirring the mixture.

  • Jasmine Ann
    November 26, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Oh, I do love a good muesli bar. Adding these babies to my list!

  • molly yeh
    November 26, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    these are gorgeous! and so is your little hand model ๐Ÿ™‚ three cheers for sturdy lunchboxes! my man is always tossing his containers around the tractor…

  • Jem
    December 1, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Hey I love the look of this bar. What are the actual quantities for the recipe though? I couldnt see it anywhere. Thanks,

    • emma
      December 1, 2013 at 9:47 am

      Hi Jem, the recipe is there but you might have to make sure you read it on a PC as I've been having issues with things not showing up after the line break when people read from a smart-phone or tablet. xx

    • Jem
      December 1, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Ahh I just looked on my computer for the first time. Strange that it doesn't work on my smart phone. Any who, thanks for your reply all the same. I cant wait to test it out!

  • miriam
    December 3, 2013 at 3:36 am

    Hi is there a substitute for the brown rice syrup? Its not that common in NZ. Could I use agave or honey? thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • emma
    December 3, 2013 at 3:40 am

    Yes I mentioned in the headnotes of the recipe that honey can be used in place of the brown rice syrup. The bars will be sweeter, but not too sweet. I don't use agave, but you could always try it.

  • Catherine
    March 18, 2014 at 1:25 am

    I loved the look of these bars and how they didn't use sugar to sweeten but I gave them a try today using maple syrup and brown rice puffs and unfortunately mine turned out crumbly and the bars didn't stay together. Is it because of these changes maybe?

    • emma
      March 18, 2014 at 3:08 am

      Oh no! That's not good to hear. I suspect that you need the stickyness of the brown rice syrup or honey to really keep these bars together. Maybe reduce the puffed rice down to 1/3 cup too. Hope that helps!
      p.s Don't waste that crumbled bar! Just crumble it up completely and use as muesli/granola!

    • Catherine
      March 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      I thought it might have been the maple syrup. The mixture tasted delicious. Thanks so much for getting back to me with some suggestions for next time:)

  • The Style Brain Box
    January 25, 2015 at 8:43 am

    Oh my god these look amazing! I was just wondering if you can freeze these? To make them stay good longer?
    Thank you

    • emma
      March 1, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      I've not tried, but let me know if you do xx

  • Robyn B | Modern Day Missus
    February 6, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Yummo – they look delicious! Love the addition of orange zest. Robyn xx

  • Anonymous
    February 27, 2015 at 4:19 am

    Hi my apricot went black and bars totally crumbled, should I use more liquid next time?

    • emma
      March 1, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Sounds like you might have had your oven too high if the apricots burnt. Was it at 150C? And yep, I'd suggest adding a little more brown rice syrup and coconut oil and see how that goes. If mine crumble I just eat it as muesli ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Alexandra Cรดtรฉ
    April 10, 2016 at 4:38 am

    Mine too. I used them as muesli. I will try the recipe again and add more oil and honey. They taste very good.

  • Moira Guthrie
    May 13, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Hi, can I substitute the quinoa flakes for oats? And can bars be frozen? Thank you

    • emma
      May 16, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      I've not tried this recipe with oats, but I'd say it would work? Let me know if you try it and it does ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, haven't tried freezing them and at a guess I'd say no, I imagine they would go soggy when defrosted, but I could be wrong though!