Peanut Butter Oat Bars

It wasn’t until we moved to Seattle that I started staying home full time with our two boys. It seemed as if my little boys, age 6 months and 3 years, were always hungry. Snack time was constantly just around the corner. I started looking for some homemade snacks that I could make and granola bars were a good place to start. It was the perfect diversion from all the “at homeness”. Baking was just the thing I (we) needed to get through those long, hungry days.

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I’ve tried many granola bar recipes since then, but haven’t come across any that were a real keeper in our house. I wanted it to be made up of pantry staples, hold together, be (mildly) nutritious and of course taste great! I think I’ve finally found it.

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I love the combination of peanut butter and honey and the coconut and dried cranberries add a nice counterpoint to the sweet and salty. Now that you mention it, I did just finish off the last two bars so I guess its time to make another round – for the children of course.

 

Peanut Butter Oat Bars

Makes 16 bars

This recipe is adapted from Momskitchenhandbook.com “Our of the Box Granola Bars”. I changed the ingredients slightly, as well as decided to add an egg white after mixing the dry and wet ingredients together. I feel like this really helped the bars to keep their shape, as well as made for a slightly softer bar.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats (I used Old Fashioned)
  • 2/3 cup rice krispy cereal
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup natural unsweetened peanut butter
  • 1 egg white, whipped with a fork until slightly frothy

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line an 8 or 9 in square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a couple inches overhang on the sides.

In a medium bowl, mix together oats, cereal, coconut, cranberries, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl combine honey, maple syrup, canola oil, water and peanut butter. Mix until combined and smooth. Pour honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir with wooden spoon until well combined. Stir in frothy egg white and mix until incorporated. Smile and breath. Smell that? Yum!

Scrape mixture into the prepared pan and press into pan. I like to use a piece of parchment to press it down flat. If using a 9 in pan (as I did), the mixture will be a bit thinner and so if you like thicker bars, just don’t spread it all the way to the edges.

Place pan on the middle rack and bake for 25-30 minutes. The bars will be golden brown and firm. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then lift the bars out of pan using the overhang of parchment paper and place on a cooling rack. Let cool completely and then cut. Store in airtight container. Enjoy!

Cookies

As a stay at home mom in Seattle, I hear a lot about the importance of eating healthy food. We buy organic and eat a vegetarian diet. My two children ages 4 & 1 are encouraged to eat lots of fruit and vegetables as well as eat in moderation. I find myself pouring over articles titled “How to get your child to eat more vegetables” and thumbing through healthy cookbooks. But – it gets a little exhausting. Sometimes, we need to let our hair down a bit and eat chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes.

There is something magical about making cookies with a 4 year old. He wants to pour (and taste) everything. “I pour, you measure” he tells me. We get out all the ingredients and start to make the batter. He stirs and scoops the flour and pretends that he is a digger machine, constantly asking if he can have a lick.  Finally, we scoop the cookies onto the baking sheet and stick them in the oven. The house starts to smell like cookies and I am reminded of all the times I did this same exact process with my mom.

Out come the cookies and little fingers grab one and then another. “One more?” he asks? Sure. How can I say no? Cookies bring a sparkle to his eyes the way broccoli never will.