Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
I love granola bars. Especially when they’re no-bake and peanut butter and chocolate chips are involved. I’d go so far as to call these healthy because they’re made with whole grains and there’s fruit included. Raisins count as fruit for me.
I made them when I was in Aruba and I made so many things while I was there that I almost forgot about this recipe until I recently saw it peering at me in my saved drafts.
I thought last week’s Carrot Pineapple Banana Bread was the last Aruba recipe, but this one really is.
You probably have everything you need to make these fast, no-bake, vegan, and gluten-free numbers in your cupboard right now. If you need additional convincing, there’s a big dollop of peanut butter, oats, crispy rice cereal, cinnamon, raisins, and chocolate chips involved.
After making the batter, which takes just five minutes to stir together, pack it into a pan and place the pan in the freezer to encourage the bars to set up faster.
When I removed the pan from freezer and the bars came into contact with the 88F degree heat inside my kitchen, the bars started sweating and glistening a little. It happens to me too in the heat.
The heat and humidity in Aruba was actually a great recipe test because the bars held together, stayed chewy, and didn’t turn into a melty gooey mess even in the very hot and humid Caribbean air, which renders a box of Saltine crackers soggy in mere hours.
In climates without 90F temperatures and 90% relative humidity, these bars are very shelf-stable stored in an airtight container. Or, wrap them up individually in plasticwrap for a portable on-the-go snack. I pack lunches every day for Skylar and Scott and I am always looking for items to include that are new, interesting, transport easily, and on the healthier side of the spectrum. As opposed to this.
The granola bars are dense and very chewy. The rice cereal adds an unexpected and very noticeable pop of crispiness and crunchiness in each bite. I tossed it in on a whim and am glad I did.
You can also try these bars using other cereals; or try shredded coconut flakes, flax seeds, poppy seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, or whatever little seeds, nuts, or crunchy bits you enjoy in your granola bars.
The bars are ripe for customization and tweaks. I used a raisin medley but try diced medjool dates, dried cranberries, dried apricots, or any dried fruit you love from dried cherries to blueberries.
The chocolate chips can be replaced with white chocolate, butterscotch, or peanut butter chips; or use toffee bits, mini M & M’s, mini marshmallows, diced peanut butter cups, or any diced candy if you want to make these more dessert bar and less granola bar.
The peanut butter can be replaced with other nut butters from almond to cashew; Biscoff or cookie butter spread to Nutella. If using a thinner nut butter like almond butter or a thinner spread like Nutella, you may need to use less since those spreads are runnier than peanut butter and could render the batter a bit runnier, or you may need to bump up the quantity of dry ingredients.
The cinnamon, brown sugar, oats, and raisins are perfect fall flavors. Or anytime flavors for me.
The flavors were apparently perfect for the family too because this batch of ten bars was gobbled in 36 hours. Good thing they’re fast to make.
2/3 cup light corn syrup (brown rice syrup or honey may be substituted)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
1/3 to 1/2 cup raisins, roughly chopped if they're large such as golden raisins
1/3 to 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped (or use mini chips)
Prepare an 8-by-8-inch baking pan by lining it with foil leaving overhang, spray with cooking spray; set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl combine corn or brown rice syrup (I suspect maple syrup or agave are not quite sticky enough to properly bind the ingredients so bars will hold together), peanut butter, brown sugar, and heat on high power for 1 minute; stir to combine mixture. Heat for 1 more minute on high power and stir to combine.
Add vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and stir to combine. Add oats and stir to combine. Add rice cereal and gently stir to combine so it doesn't become too crushed. Add the raisins and fold to incorporate. Add the chocolate chips and quickly and gently fold to combine so chips don't begin to melt. Pour mixture into prepared pan and pack it down firmly with a spatula or hands, and place pan in the freezer for at least 1 hour, or until bars have set up.
Slice bars into desired sizes and shapes; I prefer 10 bars cut into rectangles about 4-inches long by about 3/4-inch wide, similar in size and shape to a Quaker Chewy Granola Bar; choose any shape and size desired. Bars will keep in an airtight container or wrapped in plasticwrap at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Optional recipe tweaks and suggestions:
Try other cereals or add shredded coconut flakes, flax seeds, poppy seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, or other seeds or small nuts.
Try diced medjool dates, dried cranberries, dried apricots, or other dried from cherries to blueberries.
The chocolate chips can be replaced with white chocolate, butterscotch, or peanut butter chips; or use toffee bits, mini M & M's, mini marshmallows, diced peanut butter cups, or any chopped and diced candy bar will work if you want to make these more dessert bar and less granola bar.
The peanut butter can be replaced with other nut butters from almond to cashew; Biscoff or cookie butter spread to Nutella. If using a thinner nut butter like almond butter or a thinner spread like Nutella, you may need to use less since those spreads are runnier than peanut butter and could make batter a bit runny, or you may need to bump up the quantity of dry ingredients.
Take care that all ingredients used are in keeping with your dietary path and needs from the types of cereal, oats, chocolate, and add-ins used if bars must be kept vegan, gluten-free, or soy-free.
Cinnamon Oatmeal Date Bars with Chocolate Chunks (no-bake, vegan, GF) – If you omit the chocolate that’s used two ways on top of these bars, they’re quite healthy. Minus the chocolate, the bars themselves are just oats and dates, bound together by peanut butter, and I love them
Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Granola (vegan, GF) – Crunchy, easy, packed with the flavors of fall, and you’ll never have to buy overpriced storebought granola again
Microwave Chocolate Peanut Butter and Oat Snack Bars (No-Bake, Vegan, GF) – Makes just 3 bars in 5 minutes, perfect small-batch and fast recipe
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars (No-Bake, Vegan, GF)
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Coconut Oil Protein Bars (No-Bake, Vegan, GF)
Do you have a favorite granola or granola bar recipe?
Making granola and granola bars at home is so easy, cost-efficient, and you can control what does or doesn’t go into the bars. I’ll always control them so more chocolate goes in, of course.
Feel free to link up your favorite recipes.
Check back over the weekend for new giveaways each day. Have a great weekend!