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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Here's another great snack recipe adapted from Mel. (What, me play favorites with recipe sources? Of course not!)

These peanut butter granola bars are thick, chewy, and just the right amount of sweet. You know, so you don't feel like you're eating cardboard, but you also don't think you're eating a candy bar.

They're also packed with toasted nuts for a nice inter-prandial burst of protein.

Plus, if you cut them into squares with a sharp knife after they've been refrigerated for a few hours, they have these amazing oat-mosaic sides. It's always nice when your food is both aesthetically pleasing and tasty.

The original recipe called for banana chips, but I left those out and added peanut butter chips instead, for a bit more sweetness.

The brown rice syrup is what really makes these bars, in my opinion. It has all the sticking power of honey with little of the sweetness, which allows for a nice, compacted bar that stays together even at room temperature and isn't sickeningly sweet. I found mine at Whole Foods - most health foods stores probably carry it.

Now when I get that musteatsomethingrightnow feeling, I have something satisfying and relatively healthy to munch on.

Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Adapted from Mel

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Toast the almonds and the pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, line an 8 x 8 dish with foil. Mix the oats, peanut butter chips, cinnamon, cardamom and salt in a big bowl. Add the nuts once they’ve cooled.

In a small saucepan, heat the honey, brown rice syrup, peanut butter and vanilla extract over medium heat, stirring to avoid burning. Once the syrups come to a light boil, continue to cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes until the syrup begins to thicken, then pour it over the oats and nuts. Mix everything together so that the syrup evenly coats everything in the bowl.

While it’s still warm, pour the contents of the bowl into your prepared dish. Using a rubber spatula, press down hard to compact everything. Cover with parchment paper and press down again. Let cool in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Cut into squares or rectangles. They keep fine at room temperature for a few days, but probably keep best in the fridge - I keep a few in a plastic bag in my messenger bag for easy snacking and the rest in a tupperware in the fridge.

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