Friday, May 10, 2013

Crunchy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars

I had some crispy rice cereal left over from making the Oh Henry Bars last week so I decided to hunt for a recipe that used some, but not a lot, of the cereal. I came across these bars, and they looked interesting. I have been interested in making my own granola bars, but this was a variation on that idea. These are a copycat of the crunchy oatmeal peanut butter granola bars you can buy. You know, the ones that come two to a package? I love those so I thought it would be fun to give them a try at home.

This uses ingredients you may already have in the cupboard, although I had to but some peanuts. I thought about leaving them out but I found a small package at the store. I had coconut oil on hand, but you could certainly substitute butter or shortening. I don’t think it would make a huge difference. I thought it a bit strange to drizzle the bars with peanut butter before baking; I was worried that the peanut butter would get all melty or burn or something. It was fine.

I like that you cut these while warm. That’s honestly the hardest part about making bar cookies, waiting for them to cool enough before cutting them! These are fairly crumbly when you cut them, but the ones you buy at the store are pretty crumbly, too. I think these taste very close to the store-bought original, and if you like those bars but want to try to make your own, I would absolutely encourage you to give these a try.

Crunchy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars
3 cups oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons peanut butter, divided
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil or parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, crispy rice cereal, peanuts, salt and baking soda.  In a microwave safe bowl mix the honey, 1/2 cup peanut butter and coconut oil. Microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute, whisk until the mixture is smooth; stir in the vanilla and brown sugar.

Stir the honey/peanut butter mixture into the oat mixture. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan, ensuring that the mixture is evenly distributed in the pan. Using the back of a measuring cup, press the mixture down very hard. You want the mixture to be packed in the pan. Microwave the remaining 2 tablespoons of peanut butter for 30 seconds. Drizzle over the top of the bars.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the bars are golden. Allow the bars cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the pan and cut into squares while warm. Cool completely before serving.

Recipe from Half Baked Harvest

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