Books I’m reading: “Wait for Me” (a free Kindle book) and “Peace Like a River” by Leif Enger. “Peace Like a River” is a really good story with a lot of literary devices (symbols, themes, foreshadowing, etc.). Though the devices and the style make the book not exactly conversational and a breeze to read through, I still found the story compelling and the characters really interesting. This is our book club book for the month of January. “Wait for Me” is just fun :-)
The Recipe: I love love love the trail mix granola bars at Trader Joe’s. They are a little expensive…. $2.29 for a box of 6, and they are a 35 minute drive from my house. So, until I get out to Chesterfield, Missouri, I will make these. I have tried two or three no-bake granola bar recipes, but the entire family would never eat them. I really liked these. They were gooey, crunchy, salty, sweet all in one bite. Even my two year old could help make them! My kids are constantly asking for me to make them. Feel free to add your own fixin’s. I liked chocolate chips and dried cherries myself.
Trail Mix Granola Bars
yield 24 servings (when cut the size of a regular Quaker Oat granola bar)
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup crisp rice cereal (like Rice Krispies or Trader Joe’s Crispy Rice)
1/3 cup dried fruit (dried cranberries, dried cherries, etc.)
1/3 cup mini m&ms
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts (or sunflower seeds or salted peanuts?)
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup peanut butter
1. Prep a baking dish that you want to put your granola bars in. For thicker bars, try a 7×11 or a couple of bread pans. For thinner bars, a 13×9 will work. Grease the pan or lay down non-stick foil.
2. In a great big bowl: mix the oats, rice cereal, dried fruit, m&ms, chocolate chips, and peanuts. Stir all together with a large spatula. Have the spatula close and handy!
3. In a medium microwave safe bowl: Mix the honey and peanut butter. Microwave for 30-45 seconds. Stir until it is thoroughly mixed.
4. Pour your honey mixture into the oat mixture. Now, quick! Coat the oat mixture with the honey mixture. This is easier to do while it is still hot.
5. Once coated, press the mixture into your prepared pan. You can grease your hands and press. I like to take cling wrap and wrap that around the bottom of a bread pan. Then, I use that to press the bars into the pan really hard. This is necessary for the bars to stick together.
6. Cover and put in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Cut and enjoy!! Do not attempt before one hour or they will be a crumbly, honey gooey mess. Still tasty, though. Like many homemade granola bars, freezing these for a little while helps them stick together.
To store: I left these in the fridge since they seemed chewier that way. But since all the ingredients can be stored at room temperature separately, I believe they would keep just fine on the kitchen counter. Now to go and buy massive amounts of honey at Costco… (5 lb jar is $12.79 or 16 cents per ounce)
Recipe adapted from Bran Appetit