January 12, 2015

Chewy Granola Bars

Granola bars are good and good for you, right? Not exactly, well the processed packaged ones anyways. Since I learned of my corn allergy I've really started reading labels. Packaged granola bars usually have a high sugar and sodium content. Not to mention are laced in corn syrup and most have corn meal in them. I was a little disappointed when I realized I probably shouldn't eat granola bars anymore. Then one day my neighbor was printing off a cookie recipe for me and this granola bar recipe was with it. She got them from her daughter, who got them from a friend's mother. I did change a couple things like the measurements. Who wants to scoop out 8 tablespoons of peanut butter or honey? Anyhow I decided to try them out and they have been a hit at my house! Less sugar, less sodium, high in protein and heart healthy ingredients. I switched the peanut butter with sun butter so my kids can take them to school. (Peanut allergies at school are a serious thing.) You could also use almond butter or anything similar I'm sure. This is the recipe doubled. It makes a 12" by 16" cookie sheet. You could half it to fit a 9" by 13" cake pan.

4 Tablespoons butter
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (or sun butter)
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons vanilla
4 cups oatmeal
3 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup flax meal
1/2 cup dried fruit or raisins, optional
1/2 cup coconut, optional
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips or whatever you have on hand

First line your pan with foil and spray with non stick spray. Let the foil fold over the edges, they will come in handy later.

Now mix up the dry ingredients in a large bowl. (Oats, crispy rice, seeds, flax, fruit, coconut.)

Place the butter, peanut butter, honey and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until it starts to boil. Lower heat and simmer until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is slightly thick.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour this over the dry mixture and mix thoroughly. This reminds me of making rice crispy treats. Firmly press into your prepared pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Refrigerate for two hours or until cooled completely and set up. When it's cool remove with the foil onto a cutting board and cut into rectangles. Store in an airtight container with wax paper in between layers.

If I would have known how easy they were to make I would've been doing this LONG ago. They are so good!

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