I have been doing a lot of baking this winter, and not just bread. I've spent many weeks perfecting a granola bar recipe that Aidin brought home from summer camp last year. (They have a daily cooking session.) But that recipe needed something... it was too crumbly for our family. And my goodness, do we love granola bars. I was buying two boxes a week and they would be gone in the first two days. So finally, I came up with a sort-of healthy alternative that still pleases my picky daughter who will not touch dried fruit or nuts or coconut or seeds, some of my favorite granola bar ingredients. ::sigh::
Chewy Oatmeal Granola Bars
2 1/4 cups oats - quick or old fashioned. (I use 1 1/4 c. old fashioned and 1 c. quick)
1/2 cup flour (I use 1/4 cup all purpose and 1/4 cup whole wheat)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
5 Tbsp. butter or margarine (I always use the real stuff)
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips (I prefer the mini chips) or some other add - in: raisins, craisins, nuts, etc.
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray an 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan for thicker granola bars, or a 8x11.5 pan for thinner ones.
Melt the peanut butter and butter into the honey. I do this in a pyrex measuring cup in the microwave. You can also do it on the stove top.
Add the vanilla and brown sugar to the liquid honey/peanut butter/ butter mixture. Stir to dissolve the brown sugar. Allow this mixture to cool a bit.
Mix the dry ingredients ingredients together in a separate bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated.
Add the chocolate chips or other add-ins and stir. (If your liquid ingredients are still too warm it will melt the chocolate chips).
Press the mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake 18-22 minutes until golden brown.
Let cool 10 minutes in the pan and then cut into bars with a sharp knife.
Continue to cool in pan. If you remove them too early, they are more prone to crumbling.
Since switching to these, my children will not touch the store-bought kind. We all feel they are nauseatingly too sweet. And I sent them to school with Aidin yesterday, as it was her turn for the class snack rotation and I had eight requests for the recipe. So I'll now add that this recipe is endorsed by the third grade.
Let me know what you think. :)