No Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Granola bars—oats, dried fruit, nuts. Sounds like a healthy snack, right? Eh. I don’t do healthy. I do dessert. So when I decided to make my own granola bars, I went straight for a recipe that sounded like exactly what I usually buy in the store—a bar filled with chocolate and peanut butter.

Last weekend, Boyfriend and I went camping with some of his old coworkers from his first job. Like we usually do, we went overboard on food and snacks, bringing way too much to eat, and leaving the entire box of granola bars I’d bought completely unopened. I finally broke into them when we got home, tempted by their “Sweet and Salty” promises of chocolate, peanut butter, and pretzels, and within 2 days I’d eaten half the box. I knew I had to make some of my own!

I’ve only attempted to make granola bars once before, to not-so-great results. Those first bars were overly sweet (even for me!) and rock hard. Once you finally did manage to gnaw a piece off, chewing it was no easy feat. It was like trying to chew through sweet leather. Needless to say, they were a flop. But these? Totally easy, and 1000 times more tasty. Start to finish, I think it took me maybe 20 minutes to put together, not including chill time. And most of that was just waiting for the honey to boil. And the beauty of granola bars—you can add whatever you want to them. Peanuts or almonds? Go for it. Butterscotch chips? Sure. Dried fruit? Have at it. Throw in anything you want!

I put pretzels, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips in mine, to make bars that were just like the ones I bought. And they’re delicious! (I’ve already eaten a TON of them.) They still need a little tweaking, but overall it’s a keeper. They’re a tiny bit on the gooey side, so next time I’ll either up the amount of oats and Rice Krispies to 2 cups each, or cut back on either the honey or the peanut butter. And they’re still a little sweet, so I might even omit the sugar altogether and throw in some salted peanuts to up the salty factor. But there will definitely be a next time. Probably very soon.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Adapted from Food.com
Makes 12 bars

1 ½ cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 ½ cups rolled oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup honey (or corn syrup)
½ cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup broken pretzel sticks
½ cup peanut butter baking chips*
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips*

*Note: To keep from melting too much, put the chocolate and peanut butter chips in the freezer for about a half an hour before adding to mixture.

1. Line a 9x9 square baking pan with foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang on 2 opposites sides. Spray foil lightly with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine Rice Krispies, oats, and pretzels, tossing with a wooden spoon to mix evenly.
3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir honey (or corn syrup) and brown sugar, until it just reaches a boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla, whisking until smooth.
4. Pour peanut butter mixture over dry ingredients and toss with a wooden spoon until dry mixture is evenly coated. Add in chocolate and peanut butter chips, stirring quickly to keep them from melting, until evenly distributed.
5. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly to the sides. With slightly damp hands or the lightly greased bottom of a smaller baking pan, press down firmly to compact the granola. (And I do mean firmly. Press as hard as you can! It’ll keep your bars from falling apart when you cut them.)
6. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 2 hours, up to overnight. When firm, using the foil overhang, lift granola out of pan and place on a cutting board. With a large, sharp knife, cut in half down the horizontal center, then in half down the vertical center, making 4 large squares. Cut each large square into thirds, making 12 bars.
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Dorothy said...

I love this! Thanks for it. I need to start making my own granola bars, but never like any of the recipes I find. I can't wait to try yours!
Dorothy @ www.CrazyforCrust.com

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