Friday, March 15, 2013

Crunchy Chewy Granola Bars

I've been making granola bars for years because I just can't eat the packaged ones found in the grocery store. Either they're too sweet, too crunchy, or taste like tree bark. And as much as I try to be a nature lover, tree bark is not something I'd like to ingest.

A few months ago I bought a baking pan with square indentations, and last night when I was mixing up the batter for some peanut butter raisin granola bars, the light went off in my head- Use the new pan for the bars, you'll get 4 sides of crunchy crust and a chewy middle in each and every bar.

Peanut Butter Raisin Granola Bars
Makes 8 individual 2-1/2 inch square bars

Cooking spray
1/2 stick butter
2 egg whites
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup Splenda no calorie sweetener
1/4 cup honey
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Prep pan with cooking spray. Melt butter and set aside to cool. In large mixing bowl beat egg whites until frothy. Mix in peanut butter, sugar and honey. Here's a nice tip: spray your measuring cups with cooking spray before adding peanut butter and honey and they won't stick, they'll slide right out. Now add the butter and mix. You'll have a very smooth mixture at this point. Now it's time to add the oats and cinnamon. Sometimes I add the oats whole. But last night I took 3/4 cup of oats and pulverized them in my spice grinder. I like the end result better this way, but if you're too lazy to do this, go ahead and add the oats without the grinding step. Now add the raisins.

If you're using a pan like mine, you'll get 8 bars that are between 3/4 inch to 1 inch deep. Place batter into square indentations and smooth with your clean hands. You're now ready for a quick bake.

Bake 12-15 minutes in middle rack until edges begin to slightly brown. Do not overcook.

Let cool about a half hour and enjoy!

Re-Mix: There are so many variations for this recipe and I don't believe I've tried them all yet, but here are some ideas. Instead of the raisins add mini chocolate chips and a little vanilla extract. Crushed roasted peanuts are always a welcome addition, and I have even added macademia nuts and candied pineapple, which is really a treat. And even better than the Splenda sweetener, is brown sugar. Oh, and if you are a fan of dried fruit, add some dried apricots for some zing. Go through your fridge and freezer, I bet you've got ingredients for your own custom made granola bars. Just remember that cinnamon is a strong spice and it might have to be eliminated with certain combinations.

If you don't have a pan like mine, this recipe will work in an 8 x 8 inch pan, baked for 20 minutes. I would cut the bars into 12 pieces (4 x 3) not quite square.


DeeDee2012 said...

Peanut butter, oatmeal and raisins!! You got my attention! Will make these before I go to bed tonight or 1st thing tomorrow morning!!! Thank you Linda for sharing!!! Heart ya!!

DeeDee2012 said...

You had my attention with peanut butter, oatmeal and raisins!! Will make tonight before I go to bed or 1st thing in the morning!! Thank you Linda for sharing!!