If I were to look back on my life and find myself eating a bowl of muesli, it would most likely mean I was with my brother and sister at my dad’s house for the weekend. We would have found the box, the only cereal option, nestled with the Jaffa Cakes, the After Eights, and the Earl Grey tea in the kitchen cupboard, and it would likely be several months old, its powdery contents stale, any dried fruit petrified.
If we were in luck, there might be some milk in the fridge. If we were in more luck, that milk might be just a day or two past expiration. And if the stars were really aligning for us, we would avoid getting our fingers pinched in the mousetrap set in the silverware drawer while searching for a spoon. My English father is many things: a man of the kitchen he is not.
It comes as no surprise then that I absolutely adore this toasted muesli, which resembles the muesli of my youth in name only, and which resembles a traditional muesli mostly by ingredient makeup. Like granola, the oat mixture is toasted with a little oil — three tablespoons of olive oil — and a sweetener — a half cup of maple syrup. Like muesli, the mixture can be bulked up with dried fruit and puffed cereal or other grains and nuts. A healthy scoop of millet offers the nicest crunch, and the lightly toasted mixture, less sweet than granola, can be enjoyed with milk or yogurt alike.
It’s another one of those breakfast foods that I go to bed dreaming about, that I can’t keep from eating all day long, that I want to pack in Mason jars and give to anyone who stops by my door, that we ate day and night this past weekend in the woods, and that I made immediately upon returning home because I couldn’t bear the thought of breakfast without a scoop or two in my yogurt.
If you haven’t yet come around to adding a cup of millet to your baked goods, this recipe might be a nice introduction to the seed. Shortly after posting the millet muffin recipe, my friend Darcy reminded me of Talley’s muesli recipe, which had introduced her to millet, which she adored wildly, and which she still makes regularly. I have a feeling I will be making this muesli all fall, and I hope you will, too.
I couldn’t find unsweetened cranberries, so I added a handful of sweetened ones to a half batch as an experiment. I loved the flavor but was happy I had added only a handful because they are on the sweet side.
Note: This recipe is meant to be adapted to your tastes and to what you have on hand. I love the simple combo of oats, coconut, almonds and millet, and I actually prefer the muesli without any dried fruit or puffed cereal. So, if you like dried fruit, add it; if you don’t, the toasted muesli is delicious on its own or with fresh fruit. Also, if you know you like puffed cereal, go ahead and buy it, but if you are not sure, taste the muesli on its own first — I could only find an enormous bag of puffed millet, which certainly won’t go to waste — I’m going to try it in these granola bars — but it’s not something I see myself using on a regular basis.
1/3 cup boiling water
1/2 cup (102g) whole millet
2 cups (204g) oats (not instant)
3/4 cup (48g) unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (I still haven’t made this with sunflower seeds)
3/4 cup mixed chopped nuts (I always used 1 1/4 cups (128g) sliced almonds — no sunflower seeds, no other nuts)
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 Tbsp olive oil (I actually prefer grapeseed oil or canola oil now — more neutral flavor)
1 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries (I couldn’t find unsweetened, so I just threw in a handful)
1/2 cup mixed assorted dried fruit chopped (I used 1 cup dried apples)
1/2 cup puffed millet (puffed quinoa would work, too)
1. Preheat the oven to 325ºf. Note: I now bake this at 300ºF for about 40 minutes or until golden — I find the lower temperature bakes the mixture more evenly. So, if you have the time, preheat oven to 300ºF.
2. In a small bowl, pour boiling water over millet, cover with a plate and let sit for 30 minutes. Note: I don’t do this step anymore. Doesn’t seem necessary.
3. In a large bowl mix the drained millet, oats, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds (if using) and the chopped nuts with the maple syrup, olive oil and salt. Stir to coat.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the muesli mixture out on it. Place it in the oven and bake, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the mixture is lightly toasted, about 20-30 minutes. Note: I don’t start stirring until after 20 minutes or so. And I probably cook the mixture for a total of 40 minutes, checking every 10 minutes after the 20-minute mark.
5. Let the muesli cool and then add the dried fruit and puffed millet if using. Stir to mix. Store the muesli in an airtight glass container for up to 2 weeks.
Camping: Heart Lake, Lake Placid
No-Bake Energy Bites:
Adapted from Smashed Peas and Carrots
Note: This recipe is meant to be adapted to your preferences and likes. This is just what I did/had on hand.
1 cup oatmeal (I used quick oats)
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used cashew butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes (I used unsweetened shredded)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed (I used whole chia seeds…too lazy to grind them)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated. I added some salt, too — maybe a half (whole?) teaspoon of sea salt. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated (or not) for up to 1 week.