I like toasted muesli, but i have yet to find a supermarket version that is not laden with sugar and oil AND has a reasonable price point. So i make my own. The recipe below started out as someone else's (that of my friend Julia, with whom i spent a year on Raoul Island), however it has morphed so much over the years that i now happily claim it as my own.
Making your own muesli means you can control the amount (and type) of sugar and oil that goes in to it. As for the price point, this will vary depending on where you source your dry ingredients, and what type of oil and sweetening you choose to use. I once did the exercise of working out how much it cost to make a kilo of this muesli although i only priced the dry ingredients, and did not include the cost of the nuts, as i mostly use walnuts, of which i have a free supply.
I have my own beehive, so the honey is 'free' (not really - varroa treatment and AFB levies, and re-queening and the cost of equipment all add up, but i couldn't be bothered working out the cost of my own honey). I'm not sure why i failed to include the cost of the oil, but i doubt it significantly increases the cost of my product. I worked it out as $6.85/kg, or $5.13 for 750 grams, which is the size of most boxes of supermarket muesli. This is significantly cheaper than store-bought muesli, not to mention a more 'artisan style' muesli, which would be closer in quality to my own.
A few important notes:
The cooking of this muesli takes some time. I used to cook it at higher temperatures to speed the process, but the risk of burning seems to increase exponentially with every 10 degree increase in temperature. I settled on cooking it at 150 degrees Celsius, which kept the risk of burning reasonably low, however a friend of mine with a PhD in nutrition, and who has done much study on the nutrition of nuts told me that toasted nuts retain all the health benefits of raw nuts, so long as they have been toasted at 140 degrees Celsius or below. So now i toast my muesli at 140 degrees. This further decreases the risk of burning, but significantly increases the cooking time. Once my muesli is in the oven i can get some other jobs done, but beware getting so involved in a task that you forget about your muesli - even at 140 degrees it will eventually burn! I like to do little jobs that keep me in and out of the kitchen (e.g. housework!) rather then becoming engrossed in a gardening or sewing project or anything similar. Your muesli will cook faster the larger and shallower the container that you bake it in.
The dry ingredients: I use quick-cook oats as i find the jumbo rolled oats too chewy, but if you prefer jumbo oats, go right ahead! I like to use coconut flakes, but thread coconut also works fine.
For the nuts i tend to use walnuts if i have time to shell them, since they don't cost me, but if i am in a rush i use almonds. I dislike peanuts in muesli, but if you are on a budget and don't have access to free walnuts you could use peanuts - my nut researching nutritionist friend tells me they have all the nutritional benefits of other nuts. Occasionally, if i am in too much of a rush to shell walnuts, and have no almonds in the house i will use pumpkin kernels instead. For the dried fruit i usually use currants - Dr Libby writes that 'dried currents don't contain preservatives (unlike most other dried fruit), and are an excellent source of nutrients including copper, manganese and potassium' - but occasionally i add a few cranberries. In the past i've used chopped dates or apricots, but mostly i prefer the simplicity of fruit that i don't need to chop.
Sweetening: This muesli is very edible with no sweetening at all. I put a bit of honey in, simply because i have plenty of honey. If you have to buy your honey you might prefer to omit it, or substitute with a little sugar or coconut sugar or something else.
Oil: You can use whatever oil you prefer; i tend to use rice bran oil for this recipe. The idea with toasted muesli is that all the mixture is lightly dampened before you start baking it. If you are not using honey you may find you need a little more liquid to dampen your mixture; you can either add more oil, or a little milk. Just add a little at a time and stir well between each addition - you want to avoid making your mixture too wet.
Quantities: I usually make a double mixture each time, so i don't have to go through the process too often. I can cook a double mixture in a large roasting dish (28cm x 34cm x 6cm deep) and a slightly smaller baking dish (24cm x 28 cm x 5.5cm deep)
MARION'S TOASTED MUESLI
6 cups rolled oats
1.5 cups coconut flakes
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup linseeds
1 cup buckwheat groats
1 cup nuts
1/4 cup honey or other sweetening (optional)
1/2 cup oil of your preference
1/2 cup currants or other dried fruit (optional)
Preheat your oven to 140 degrees Celcius. Combine the first seven ingredients in a large bowl or other container (i use a preserving pan when i am making a double mixture). Gently heat your honey (if using) until it is of a pourable consistency. Pour over as much of the surface of your muesli as possible. Give a quick stir, then add the oil and stir thoroughly. If you are unable to dampen all the mixture add a little more oil, or you can use milk if you prefer. Add small amounts and stir well in between each addition, until the whole mixture is lightly dampened. Spread in a large shallow roasting dish and smooth the top (if you have peaks and troughs the peaks are more likely to burn). Place in the oven and bake for approximately 2 hours. You need to check the mixture regularly, and as the top starts to brown, remove from the oven and give it a good stir, then flatten it out again and return to the oven. I do the first stirring about 20 minutes after i first put it in the oven, and about every 10 to 15 minutes thereafter. If you are doing a double mixture and using more than one roasting dish, alternate which dish is on the top, and which is below. I find the dish on the bottom will brown on the base before the top colours, while the dish above browns on the top first. When the mixture is a nice golden colour throughout (takes about 2 hours to get a colour that i like) turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar. Let the muesli cool in the oven.
When cool, stir in the dried fruit and store in an airtight container.