Baking For Others: Peanut Butter Granola Bars
This is less a post and more a plea for help. How do you make great peanut butter granola bars?! I’ve made them again and again, and I’m having trouble solving a few issues. So rather than give you a recipe (though I’ve given you my working formula, which is delicious if not quite perfect), I’m imploring you readers for a recipe.
I like crunchy granola bars, so the method I’ve come to use is heating a sticky mixture, made of honey and/or sugar, peanut butter, and oil. Then I pour that over a dry mixture: toasted oats and nuts, puffed brown rice cereal, even ready-made granola and spread it in a pan to come to room temperature and harden. I know some people actually bake the bars, but when I’ve tried to make bars like that, I’ve consistently turned out fragile, crumbly, cookie-like things. I don’t like those.
The aforemetioned stovetop method I’ve been experimenting with reminds me a lot of how you make Rice Krispie Treats, and it has its own problems. Because, of course, granola bars aren’t supposed to remind me of a rice krispie treat–one’s a snack while the other’s dessert. And yet, when I try to decrease the sugar in my bars–especially the honey, which I find a bit grating in large amounts–the texture suffers big time. Suddenly, instead of granola bars, I find I’m dealing with granola. Which turns out to be really good for breakfast, but unfortunately not what I was after.
So that leaves me asking you, readers, for your peanut butter granola bar recipes and ideas. I’ll be eternally grateful if you might deign to help me find what I’m looking for. And of course if I like what you send, you can be sure I’ll feature the peanut butter granola bars of my dreams right here on the blog.
From my kitchen, in search of granola perfection, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Peanut Butter Granola Bars (a work in progress)
1 1/4 cups crispy rice cereal
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup blanched sliced almonds
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
Line an 8″ square pan with parchment and spray with oil.
Toast the oats in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes until slightly golden. Cool. Take 1/3 cup and process in a mini prep until it looks more or less like flour. Combine it in a large bowl with the rice cereal, remaining oatmeal, and sliced almonds.
Meanwhile, combine the peanut butter, oil, honey, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring nearly constantly. Let it boil for a minute. Pour over the oatmeal mixture and stir until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into the prepared pan. Press down very firmly and evenly–this will be important for your bars’ consistency.
Cool to room temperature. Turn the bars out of a pan onto a cutting board. Carefully cut in half lengthwise, then cut each rectangle into 8 bars, for a grand total of 16.