Let’s talk granola bars. They are definitely a staple pantry item in our house. Alex and I often take them to work (the perfect portable breakfast with a piece of fruit!) and Owen likes to eat them as an after-school snack.
As a certified grown-up, oh how I miss after-school snacks!
When I was in elementary school, my friend Taryn’s mom used to pick us up at the end of the day. She always brought us something to munch on in the car. Often it was a piece of fruit or pretzels, but if we were really lucky, it might be small bags of cheese puffs or Cool Ranch Doritos. We were always starving, and I remember how excited I would be to see what she had brought.
So now, everyday when I pick Owen up from preschool, I like to bring him a little snack just like I had growing up. As soon as I show up at his classroom door he hugs me and asks, “what’s my snack?”
Lately I’ve been bringing these crunchy maple peanut butter granola bars. Our whole family loves them!
There are two things that I absolutely adore about these granola bars. The first is that they are gluten-free (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Quick Cooking Oats, which are sourced gluten free, packaged in Bob’s Red Mill’s 100% gluten free facility and tested every step of the way to ensure their gluten free status).
You could even make them vegan if you like, by swapping your favorite vegan butter for the dairy butter.
The second thing I love about these bars is that they are made with only nine simple, real food ingredients, and they come together in about 5 minutes of active time. Seriously! I’ve made a batch while Alex gave Owen a bath, and by the time he was in his PJs, I was done and the kitchen was clean.
I don’t know about you, but I like my granola bars super crispy and crunchy, and these definitely fit the bill! The maple-peanut butter combination hits just the right balance between sweet and salty, and the chocolate drizzle makes them feel like a real treat–even though they are actually super healthy (oats are rich in dietary fiber and can help reduce cholesterol).
I admit, even though I make these “for Owen,” Alex and I often dip into them after he is asleep. I guess late night is the after school snack of adults. 🙂
PS: Bob’s Red Mill is offering some great coupons to save on their products. Grab yours now!
Crunchy Maple Peanut Butter Granola Bars
- 2 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Quick Cooking Oats
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 teaspoon maple extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-x-8inch baking dish with foil so that it extends up the sides.
Pulse 1/2 cup of the oats in a food processor until finely ground and powdery. Combine in a large bowl with the remaining 2 cups of oats and the baking soda.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the maple syrup, sugar, and peanut butter and stir until smooth and heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the maple or vanilla extract and the salt.
Pour the mixture over the oats and stir until well combined. Transfer to the prepared pan and, using a small piece of parchment paper, press into a firm, even layer. Bake until the bars are fragrant and just beginning to turn golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes, then lift out in one piece, using the foil as handles. Cut into 9 squares. Let the bars cool completely.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a small bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Let cool for 5 minutes. Spoon the chocolate into a small sandwich bag and snip off one corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the bars. Let stand until the chocolate is set, about 1 hour.
PS: I was very loosely inspired by this Betty Crocker recipe!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.