September 30, 2021
The start of school means my snack cabinet is full of graham crackers, goldfish, and gummies, but my 15 year old, Eli, has been asking me to buy him granola bars. I was in Trader Joes and brought home 4 kinds of granola bars so we could have a taste test for the most delicious one. We lined them up, opened each package, and took a bite. There was a clear winner, but I think that’s because not only did it have chocolate chips in it, but it was dipped in chocolate! I could have told you before we started that the one smothered in chocolaty goodness would be the champion. But in my book that’s not a real granola bar. A few chocolate chips and you can still call it “healthy”, but dipped in chocolate. No way.
Thats when we set out to make our own granola bar. Eli and I took out the ingredients he was interested in: oats, peanut butter, chocolate chips and raisins. Then we lined up different sweeteners such as maple syrup and honey. Next we started our experiment. We decided that the peanut butter would be a good healthy choice to help hold the bar together. Of course we needed oats too. The add-ins were easy. Eli wanted mini chips and a few raisins. Of course we could have added anything he desired, craisins, dried cherries, flax meal (a good way to sneak that into a kid’s diet). The tricky part was the sweetener. We knew we didn’t want granulated sugar, so after a few trials we agreed on using honey for sweetness and glue!
While I used peanut butter, you can use any nut butter you please. And while I used mini chips, you can leave them out and substitute any other dried fruit or berry. The possibilities are ennnndlessssss!! The one thing I will say is that Eli and I found that the longer these babies sat in the fridge the more the raisins and the peanut butter flavors married and they started to taste like a peanut butter and jelly bar. No joke. Since we are HUGE peanut butter and jelly fans, we really liked that. Bye bye store bought granola bars. Hello homemade!
No-Bake Nut Butter Granola Bars
1 cup smooth nut butter (I used salted natural peanut butter)
2/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, fleur de sel, or kosher salt
2 1/2 cups quick oats- not instant oats (I used quick oats, but any rolled oats will do)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup raisins
Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving extra paper on the sides for easy lifting out later.
In a large bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, stir together the nut butter, honey, vanilla and salt until smooth. (I found it easier to use a mixer to make these bars, but you can certainly mix them by hand if you prefer.)
With the mixer on low, add the oats, and any add-ins you have prepared (mini chips and raisins.) The mixture will eventually come together.
Place the mixture in the pan and put a second pice of parchment paper on top. Using the palm of your hand or a measuring cup, firmly and evenly flatten the mixture into the pan.
Place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour. Lift the cold mixture onto a cutting board and slice into bars or squares with a pizza cutter.
Store in the refrigerator.