Trail mix bars – also called ‘Scroggin bars’ (Australia), ‘Muesli Bars’ (UK) or ‘Granola bars’ (USA), are a great snack to take on hikes. They are also easy to make, and can be customised with your favourite add-ins.
There is also a nut-free version for people who have allergies. This recipe makes 12 normal-sized bars and so is suitable for being made by a six (who then get 2 bars each). It will take about 20-30 minutes for cubs to complete (and then a further hour for them to tidy up the mess…)
You will need the following equipment:
- Mixing bowl and spoon
- Baking tray, about 22x28cm (7″x11″)
- Baking paper
- 2.5 cups (260g) rolled oats
- 1/2 cups (90g) peanuts (alternatively, 1 cup of broken pretzels for nut-free version)
- 1/4 cup (100g) honey (if using pretzels, add a little extra)
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup (70g) brown sugar (if using pretzels, add a little extra)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup of extra mix-ins. This could be candied or dried fruit, raisins, cashews, walnuts, small marshmallows, chocolate drops, and so on. For nut-free versions, consider raisins, dried banana slices, candied pineapple, chocolate drops and baby marshmallows.
Line the baking tray with baking paper. Leave enough paper to be able to fold it over the top later.
Place the oats on a baking tray, and place under the grill. Toast them but be careful not to burn them.
Roughly chop the peanuts (or pretzels, if using those). Mix these with the toasted oats in a big bowl. If you’re using pretzels, don’t crush them or chop too small.
Add the honey, butter, and brown sugar to a saucepan. Heat on the stove, stirring and being careful it does not burn. When everything has melted, and it just starts to boil, remove from the heat and add the vanilla and salt. Pour this mixture over the oats in the bowl, and stir to combine. Make sure none of the oats are dry.
Chop the add-ins if necessary, and mix in everything apart from chocolate (if using it). Stir to combine. When it has cooled slightly, mix in any chocolate quickly and turn the entire mixture out into the baking tray. You do chocolate last as otherwise it will melt from the heat of the sugar mixture.
Use a spatula or similar to push the mixture down into the tray, maxing sure to get into all the corners. Fold the baking paper over the top, so that you can then push down (with the base of a cup, or even your hand) and compress the mixture to an even thickness all over the tray. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours until cold and hard.
Cut into 12 bars using a sharp knife and chopping board.
Things that could go wrong
- If the bars fall apart after, then you may have added too many add-ins for the sugar to bind them, or you may not have pressed the mixture down hard enough. It’s also possible you didn’t mix the sugar mixture into the oats well enough, or you didn’t chop the peanuts and other add-ins small enough. If you’re using pretzels then you might have too little sugar mixture.
- If the bars are sticky and soft, then you did not heat the sugar mixture long enough and it did not turn to toffee.
- If the bars are brown from the melted chocolate, instead of having chocolate drops embedded in them, then you mixed in the chocolate too soon or for too long, and it all melted.
- If the bars taste burnt, then you probably either over-toasted the oats, or over-heated the sugar mixture and it turned to caramel or burned.
- If the bars are too hard and dense, then you may have chopped things too fine (particularly if you’re using pretzels, you may have crushed them to powder).