Peanut Butter Granola Bars
It’s Peanut Butter Granola Time! Peanut Butter Granola Time (with a baseball bat)! If you don’t get that reference you may want to check out this entrancing video.
Ok. Sorry. Back to reality. I’ve been itching to make granola bars for a few weeks now and finally did it last weekend. Turns out that once you have the basics down for homemade granola, it’s pretty easy to make granola bars. Shocking I know.
I was in a peanut butter mood so I used that as a base flavor for the whole thing.
So there are two basic parts to this recipe: First, make granola. Second, make granola bars. Luckily both steps are really easy and this recipe makes about 12-14 granola bars which are great to have on hand throughout the week.
Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Yield: 8x8 baking dish.
3 Cups rolled oats (can't use the instant stuff)
1 Cups various seeds and nuts (I used 2/3 Cups sunflower seeds, almonds, and cashews for this version)
1/2 Cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, etc)
1/2 Tablespoon cocoa powder (optional)
1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
Pinch of salt
The above granola recipe
3/4 Cup honey
1/2 Cup peanut butter
1/2 Cup Brown sugar
1/4 Cup neutral oil (grapeseed or corn works well)
1) Roughly chop nuts and seeds and add them to oats. Add cinnamon and cocoa powder and a pinch of salt.
2) After the oats, nuts, seeds and seasonings are combined, stir together the honey and peanut butter in a separate bowl.
3) Pour that mixture into granola and stir really well to combine. Make sure everything is really evenly distributed. Spread out the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet.
4) Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes and stir them every 5 minutes.
5) After the granola has turned a nice brown color it is done! Pull it out and let it cool.
6) Add dried fruit.
7) For bars, mix all the ingredients except the granola in a medium saucepan and put it over medium heat. Stir it just until it starts to bubble and all of the ingredients are melted.
8) Pour it straight over the granola! Mix this up well again.
9) Pack it into a square baking dish. Push down on it with a spatula to even it out and compress the oats
10) Stick this in the fridge for at least 2 hours and then you can slice it up!
11) If the granola is really hard, you can let it sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes and it will soften up a bit.
Adapted from How to Cook Everything.
What’s kind of nice about keeping a well-stocked pantry is it very frequently pays what I like to call pantry dividends. This recipe is a case in point. For me, all I had to do for this recipe was buy dried cranberries. I had every other ingredient needed.
Making the granola
Granola is really simple to make and you are completely missing out if your buying the store bought stuff. It’s just so awesome to be able to customize it to whatever tastes you want.
To make it, roughly chop your nuts and seeds if necessary and add them to your oats.
Next add your cinnamon and cocoa powder if your using them and a pinch of salt.
Please note the below photo where I made the mistake of adding my dried fruit. You aren’t supposed to add that until after you bake the granola. That’s what I get for trying to make granola, take photos, and yell at the Washington Redskins all at the same time.
After your oats, nuts, seeds and seasonings are combined, stir together your honey and peanut butter in a separate bowl.
Resist eating it like a soup.
Then pour that mixture into your granola and stir really well to combine. Make sure everything is really evenly distributed.
Then spread out the mixture on two rimmed baking sheets.
Cooking the granola
Cook these sheets at 350 for about 30 minutes and stir them every 5 minutes. If you don’t stir them every few minutes, the peanut butter will burn and that would be very sad.
After your granola has turned a nice brown color it is done! Pull it out and let it cool. NOW you can add your dried fruit. If you are like me and you happen to mess that up, it’s okay. Just be sure to stir everything well while it’s cooking. You run the extra danger of the dried fruit burning.
Mine turned out fine though even with my mess up.
The only thing you need to make bars now is a light syrup that will hold all of that delicious granola together. You can also take this as an opportunity to add even more peanut butter flavor to the party.
Mix all the ingredients except the granola in a medium saucepan and put it over medium heat. Stir it just until it starts to bubble and all of the ingredients are melted.
Then pour it straight over your granola!
Mix this up well again. It will be more gooey than the first batch. Pack it into a square baking dish. Push down on it with a spatula to even it out and compress the oats. Just light pressure will do. No need to show off the guns or anything.
Stick this in your fridge for at least 2 hours and then you can slice it up!
If the granola is really hard, you can let it sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes and it will soften up a bit.
You can keep these in the fridge for a week or two without a problem. When I first take one of these bars out of the fridge, it’s rock hard. But after about 10 minutes it is softer but still crunchy. Just like I like them!
And the peanut butter flavor is great. It’s amazing how just a little bit of peanut butter can really flavor a lot of food.
You may note that I only used half of the granola for the bars. You can save the other half in a sealed plastic bag to either make more bars or just eat like cereal.
This is the kind of thing that I really believe is so easy to integrate into your weekly or monthly schedule and I think you’ll be absolutely shocked at how much crunchier, tastier, and healthier they are than 99% of the ones you buy in the store. Give it a shot sometime!