Peanut Butter Energy Bars
These whole-grain, high-protein bars are a tasty mix of chewy and crunchy. To ensure enough wet ingredients to coat the dry ingredients, be sure not to over-scoop the cereal and oats.

Yields 16 bars


Ingredients

  • 2 cups flake cereal (I use Corn Flakes which makes these a lower-sugar, gluten-free option; the original recipe calls for Start Smart or Honey Bunches of Oats)
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats (old-fashioned oats may be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (I like salted for the salty-sweet combination; unsalted may be used)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, raisins or chocolate covered raisins
  • 1/2 cup honey (the original recipe uses corn syrup which may be used instead)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 2-3 tablespoons shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, according to preference)

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the cereal, oats and chopped peanuts. If using raisins, add them now. If using either of the chocolate options, wait until later. Set aside.
  2. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish. For easy removal of the bars, I like to also line the pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to overhang on two of the sides.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed pot that is large enough to hold the cereal mixture, combine the honey, brown sugar and peanut butter. Over medium heat, slowly bring the mixture to a boil, stirring regularly. (It will look foamy when it boils.) When the mixture boils, promptly remove it from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Immediately pour the cereal mixture into the hot honey mixture, folding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients to fully coat. At this point, stir in half of the chocolate pieces. These will get a little gooey from the residual heat. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan, and evenly distribute. A piece of parchment or wax paper makes it easy to press the mixture into an even layer without sticking to a spatula or your hands. Then sprinkle the remaining chocolate pieces and optional coconut over the top, pressing on them lightly to make sure they stick.
  5. Allow the bars to completely cool before cutting. If using parchment paper, lift the bars out of the pan for easier cutting. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for several days–or as long as they last!


More recipes at FountainAvenueKitchen.com