Is it possible to not like a granola bar? Granola or granola bars are definitely some of the most addicting snacks! I mean, it's practically 'healthy' right.. so it doesn't matter when you've eaten so much you can't believe you've consumed 2 cups or cereal, 2.5 cups of oatmeal, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of sugar...and the list goes on! I hope no one does the calorie count because I don't want to know. After searching for what feels like forever to find the perfect granola recipe (I know there isn't a perfect recipe, but CI convinces me otherwise), I finally decided to try the chewy peanut butter granola bars from the savory notebook.
Now before any of you freak when you see the amount of corn syrup, I don't think there can be substitutions for it this time. I've made granola with maple syrup and honey before and even though it was really good, the 'freshness' factor just wasn't there.. I'm not talking about staleness, but I was missing the perfect balance of crisp, crunch yet chewy. I do feel a tad guilty about using so much corn syrup so if anyone knows a good substitution, please let me know!
I made a few modifications..suprisingly..considering I'm usually one of those 'must follow the recipe to the word' people. Since we had lots of Kashi cereal that no one was eating, I substituted that for the puffed brown rice which I didn't have anyway. It added a really nice crunch and was a great way to get rid of it. I also added extra oats because I like my bars really oaty. I reduced the raisins because 1 cup was just way too raisiny, but I would definitely not omit all of it because they just add amazing texture and chewiness. Next time I'm definitely throwing in 1/4 cup of sesame seeds that I forgot this time. Although, I really don't think there should be a next time because this stuff is just way too addicting unless if I have a good excuse.. like getting rid of cereal!
Adapted from The Savory Notebook
3/4 cup roasted salted peanuts
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (toasted in a 350º oven for 5-8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant - 350 tends to burn for me so I reduced to 200)
2 cups puffed brown rice cereal/(I used Kashi)
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (I just used regular PB)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
Toast peanuts, pumpkin seeds, oats, cereal in oven at 200F for 15 min then pour in a large bowl with dried fruit
Whisk the peanut butter, brown sugar, light corn syrup and salt in a medium microwavable bowl and heat on high until mixture is bubbling, about 1 to 2 minutes. (I actually did this over the stove top over medium heat because the microwave tends to dry things out)
Pour peanut butter/sugar mixture into the large bowl and mix thoroughly
Press the mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. (If mixture is sticky, use a bit of cooking spray on your hands or coat a piece of wax paper with cooking spray and use the paper to help you press the mixture into the pan.) I don't use cooking spray because that stuff freaks me out for some reason, but I found that lining the pan with aluminum was the best because parchment moves around too much)
Let bars cool for 1 hour before cutting into bars.
Makes about 16 bars.