October 03, 2011

Chewy Granola Bars

Awhile back, I wrote about my experience with another blogger's recipe for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.  As I noted at the time, I wasn't entirely satisfied with those bars, but my coworkers raved about them, so I planned to eventually tinker with that recipe, to make it more to my liking. 

Well, that eventually happened this past weekend.

When I made the original recipe, I didn't think the result tasted very much like a granola bar, and I was displeased with how much the bars crumbled when I cut them into individual servings.  I resolved to make some changes to the recipe that would provide a bit more flavor and hopefully bind the bars together better.  Toward this goal, I added a bit of molasses and some chopped-up dried fruit (cherries and apples), thinking the stickiness of the molasses and the dried cherries might help the bars hold together.

I think I achieved the first goal - I am much happier with the flavor of these ones than I was the first batch, though Juli still isn't too thrilled by them.  I was less successful in regard to the second goal.  These ones didn't crumble quite so much as did the ones made with the original recipe, but as you can see in the picture above, they were still pretty crumbly.  More than I'd prefer.  So, progress, but not quite all the way there.

I'm happier with this recipe, but I think it still needs some work.   If any of our readers has any ideas how to make the bars hold together better, I'd be quite interested in hearing from you.

Chewy Granola Bars

1          cup chunky peanut butter
1/4       cup honey
1/4       cup maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
2          tablespoons molasses
1          teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2   cups old-fashioned oats
1         cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2      cup dry roasted peanuts
1/2      cup Rice Krispies or similar cereal
1/2      cup shredded coconut
2         tablespoons dried apples, finely chopped
2         tablespoons dried cherries, finely chopped

Prepare a 8"x8" baking dish by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, honey, maple syrup. molasses and vanilla extract.  Stir in the oats to completely cover them with the liquid mixture, then add in the chocolate chips, peanuts, Rice Krispies, coconut and dried fruit.  Stir to mix thoroughly. 

Pour the mixture into the baking dish and press it into the dish tightly and evenly.  Bake for 35 minutes, then remove from oven.  Let cool completely in the pan before inverting and cutting into bars.

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