Chewy Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

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I am constantly on the lookout for snacks to make for my two daughters who scarcely have time to eat—let alone to shop and cook.  Such are the lives of third year medical students.

Their current hospital rotation is in a VA hospital which doesn’t have a cafeteria.  Pickin’s are slim unless you brown bag it which they do since they don’t have the time or money to go out to buy their lunch.

My girls live two hours away but visit often on the weekends, so that I rev up the oven and send them home with easy snacks and other food that they can take home and microwave for meals.

When I made a batch of these chewy peanut butter granola bars loaded with peanuts and chocolate chips, Roger and I had to stop ourselves from eating them or there wouldn’t have been too many left to pack up for the girls.  There is no granulated sugar in them—the bars are sweetened with puréed dates, honey, and maple syrup.  They were so chewy and tasty that I made a second batch the following week which disappeared just as quickly as the first .

A big plus is that these bars are made with all natural ingredients—no artificial sweeteners or chemical stabilizers with names you can’t pronounce.  This a great, reasonably healthy snack (there’s still chocolate and natural sweeteners in the bar, so I don’t categorize this as diet food) to make and put in your kids’ lunch bags.

I’m sure they’ll appreciate finding a homemade granola bar in their lunch as much as my two do.

One year ago:  Kale-Spinach Smoothie

Two years ago:  Mini Chocolate Cakes with Chocolate Glaze

Three years ago:  Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo

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Chewy Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
  • 8 ounces dates, puréed
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbl. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 325o F.  Line a 9×9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, chopped peanuts, chocolate chips and puffed rice cereal.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the date purée, peanut butter, honey, maple syrup, vanilla and salt until smooth and thoroughly combined.

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Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the oat mixture and fold together with a wooden spoon until evenly mixed.

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Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and, using the back of a wooden spoon, press firmly into an even layer, making it as compact as possible.  After pressing down with the wooden spoon, I found I was able to compress the mixture even further by placing a piece of wax paper over it and pressing down with my hands.

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Bake until the bars are set and beginning to brown around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before slicing.  You will get cleaner slices when the bars are cooled.  The granola bars can be kept at room temperature, in an airtight container or individually wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil for up to 4 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.

IMG_9697 (575x301)Fran’s Notes

Obviously, you can cut these granola bars into any size or shape you want.  I ended up cutting the bars into 18 rectangular shapes.  This resulted in a snack whose size was quite satisfying.

If you want these to be gluten free, be sure to use gluten-free old-fashioned oats.

Source:   A recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker

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