The kids have been in school for awhile , and I have been experimenting with their lunches. One new venture is granola bars. They can be a win-win. A little sweet with nutrition to back it up. However, most store bought options contain way too much sugar and some random, less desirable ingredients.
So! To the kitchen! I decided to go with this recipe, since most were just variants that I found online. These are dense, so smaller servings will be plenty. They are not just like the beloved Quaker chewies, but they are delicious and highly customizable.
1. In a large bowl, combine 1 2/3 cups of oats, 1/3 ground oats (I used a coffee grinder), 4Tbsp bran, 1 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup slivered almonds, and 1/2 cup dried cranberries.
2. In a smaller bowl, mix 6 Tbsp melted butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 4 Tbsp honey, 4 Tbsp brown sugar, and 4 Tbsp peanut butter.
3. Toss ingredients together until thoroughly combined. This was easier with oiled, gloved hands.
4. Spread into a loaf pan that is lined with parchment. Press firmly. Really get in there!
5. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. I left the parchment over the top to prevent browning, but this is not necessary.
6. Let cool, then chill until stiff.
7. Slice into desired pieces using a serated knife. Store in an air tight container for up to a week. It can also be frozen for later use.
I will be trying this with crushed pretzels, peanuts, and chocolate chips next time. I love those Take 5 candy bars, so this may be a healthier alternative. The notes from the link have lots of alternatives, like maple syrup instead of honey, or ground wheat instead oats. More suggestions for the mix-ins: mini marshmallows, seeds, cereal, candies, nuts...
My son just said caramel. That would delicious swapped with the peanut butter! With dried apples. Mmm! Perfect for this time of year. Well, I think that is next week's experiment.
PS: I am having glitches with photos. I'll have Mr. Technology take a look.