At about eight months into my pregnancy, I started to get a hankering for dates: the little chewy, slightly sweet nuggets I remembered from some muesli I used to eat way back in my younger years. I can’t remember the exact brand and can’t find a decent substitute from what’s available in the stores near me, but I remember the little squares with a dusting of who-knows-what (sugar? oat flour?) were the highlight. Thanks for sending me to German camp, Mom & Dad. I don’t remember the language, but I remember the muesli.
This homemade version isn’t an exact replica, but it takes a few important parts and amplifies them. First, obviously, the dates take center stage. They’re slightly sweet and cut into big enough chunks to have real presence (but not so big the distribution is lopsided). The chopped pecans add a needed crunch and their sweetness actually compliments the dates well. FYI: pecans will lend a sweeter note than the walnuts, but either can work here. Finally, the oats provide a solid base on which everything else stands.
This also isn’t a true muesli. As this Bon Appetite article outlines, muesli shouldn’t really be cooked. Because this recipe calls for gently baking to heighten the sweetness and flavors of the ingredients, this could technically be considered a granola recipe. But because the inspiration and choice of ingredients pulls so heavily from my past experience with muesli, that’s what I’m calling it. Also, the looser texture definitely pays homage to muesli; there are no granola chunks here.