Peanut Butter Granola Bars

I cut the peanut butter granola bars into small pieces, in theory for portion control and storage.

The bars are packed with seeds and nuts and oats, and flavored with white chocolate wonderful peanut butter and honey.  Eating only one peanut butter granola bar, regardless of the size of the bar, may be a challenge!  The bars are delicious and addictive.

After baking, I refrigerated the bars hoping for smooth, straight sides while cutting the bars.  The bars become very soft at room temperature, and cutting large bars may not be the best option.
Packaging the peanut butter granola bars in mini cupcake foils within an egg carton (think recycle!) provides quick access to a snack or offers a grab-and-go travel container.
Peanut Butter Granola Bars
(adapted from Renee at sweetsugarbean)
Ingredients:
  • 6 T brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter (from Peanut Butter & Co)**
  • 4 T honey
  • 4 T butter
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 T ground flax
  • 1 T sesame seeds
  • 2 T cacao nibs
  • 2 T chocolate chips

Mixing:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment for easy removal of bars after baking
  3. Melt brown sugar, peanut butter, honey, and butter in saucepan over low heat.
  4. Remove melted mixture from heat and add vanilla; sit aside
  5. In large bowl, combine oat, coconut, sunflower seeds, flax, sesame seeds, cacao nibs, and chocolate chips
  6. Pour the wet mixture over the dry, and stir to combine well
  7. Press mixture into parchment lined pan
  8. Bake for 20 minutes (per original recipe).  I would bake longer next time, hoping to achieve a more firm peanut butter granola bar
Hiking, camping, work, play, gift…..
The options are endless; the recipient will be grateful!

**The White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co. (endorsement given freely; no compensation) combines sweet white chocolate and peanut butter.  Peanut Butter & Co. was one of the sponsors at BlogHerFood ’11 in Atlanta in May.  If all their products are as good as this one, they have found a new home on my pantry shelves!

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image chosen on TasteSpotting

Gale Reeves
#114138
I submit photos on occasion to TasteSpotting; however, few are selected.
This was a nice Sunday afternoon treat to find my granola bar photo posted.  If you need food or photography inspiration, gaze upon the TasteSpotting site for a while.
My previous TasteSpotting post can be seen here.

granola bars

Bulk Whole Foods oats make a star appearance in these chewy granola bars.  Loaded with nuts, seeds, and flax, the bars will quench your hunger for hours.

The recipe is adapted from here.

The bars are soft and chewy.  I keep them well wrapped and frozen; the texture is unaffected by freezing.

Granola Bars
Into large bowl, mix:
3 c. oats
1/4 c. flour
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cardamon
4 T ground flax

Add to above mixture:
1 c. toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 c dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/2 c pumpkin seeds
1/2 c coconut
1/4 c sesame seeds

In a food processor, mix:
1/2 c. dried apricots (I used dates)
1/2 c butter
1/2 c honey

Pour the wet over the dry ingredients and mix well.  (I used my best tools – my hands.)
Firmly press into parchment lined 9×13 pan; bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

The bars will cut easier if they are completely cooled.

your point of concentration

Do you want to concentrate on the hazelnuts?Or, do you want to concentrate on the Nutella?Either way, these two ingredients and a few other healthy additions yield a delicious granola bar.
I’ve been testing granola bar recipes. The first recipe I tried was a huge hit with the work crew, but the bars crumbled too easily. You can find the original Barefoot Contessa recipe here. And, you can find another version here at Smitten Kitchen. I made a few substitutions based on the ingredients in my pantry.

The bars pictured above were my second attempt. They cut beautifully, and did not crumble as I nibbled on the healthy goodness.
Fresh Market and Whole Foods have isles of ingredients just waiting to be made into granola bars. I can’t wait to try many more combinations.
Listed below is my latest version of the Barefoot Contessa/Smitten Kitchen granola bar recipe. I have decided that honey works better than maple syrup. And, a Nutella type ingredient (i.e. peanut butter/ nut butters) aids in the texture creation , holding the bars together, and cutting the bars.

This recipe makes about 16 granola bars. I baked the mixture in 2 – 8.5 x 5 loaf pans. Be sure to press the mixture into the pans really well (even roll over the ingredients with a small rolling pin). And don’t cut the bars until completely cooled. (I pressed another loaf pan over the baked bars and allowed them to cool overnight before cutting.)

GRANOLA BARS

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup sliced almonds (any combination of nuts; I used 2 c. hazelnuts, skins included)

1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed (I used 1/2 sweetened & 1/2 unsweetened)

1/2 cup toasted wheat germ (I used bran cereal)

¼ cup brown sugar

2/3 cup honey

1/4 cup Nutella

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cup dried fruit, or a mix of dried fruit (I used dates with the hazelnuts)

I added a few chocolate chips (about 1/4c.) to one pan of the granola bars before baking.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Toss the oatmeal, nuts, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. (Watch the sweetened coconut; it browns quickly.) Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the brown sugar/honey/Nutella (I heated these slightly to melt.) Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

Add all other ingredients.

Pour the mixture into your prepared baking pans and press it in the pans until the mixture is packed as tightly as possible. (Parchment paper placed inside the pan [before you add the granola mixture] and extended over the sides will aid in removing the full bar from the pan prior to cutting. – Butter the parchment paper.)

Bake for 25 minutes, until light golden brown.

Cool for 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares — your best serrated knife is great for this. ( I let mine cool overnight before cutting)

You can store these in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or two, as you would cookies, or store them in the freezer. They should remain crisp frozen, as all granola tends to soften at room temperature after a day or more.