...than this granola bar. Not to toot my own horn or anything...but I make a pretty crazy good granola bar. So, I'm always on the lookout for another recipe that could be better than the one I have. There have been some contenders, but this recipe is still my favourite. With a butter/peanut butter/brown sugar/honey goo spilled over lots of large flake oats and nuts, dried fruit and chocolate....it is a gooder.
Whenever I go on a road trip I bring my own snacks....I'm not much of a pop-and-chips kind of girl, so gas station food does nothing for me. In preparation for the drive to my sister Juanita's this weekend, I whipped up a batch of these granola goodies. The drive to her place is only 3 hours, but on long and lonely stretches of Prairie highway, it can feel a lot longer. It's true - you really can see for miles. Have a little snack, turn the music up and we are there before we know it. Plus I know her girls will go nuts for these bars - especially Miss O, who loves anything smothered in peanut butter. Miss M is too little, but she may have a nibble, with her tiny, yet mighty chompers.
I first made these bars when I worked as a staff cook at a fancy fishing lodge in the beautiful Yukon Territory, way way back in the late '90s, early 2000's. Funny how one bite takes me back to the land of the the midnight sun. Full of protein and other good things, these bars were taken on many a heli-hike and shore lunch. I even ate them for breakfast, or for a late night snack after a terribly exciting game of Yahtzee. Yep we were in the wilderness, and yep we made our own fun. Boy, did we ever.
This recipe is very versatile...originally it calls for coconut, but I dislike coconut, so it goes nowhere near this recipe. If you like, put it in (we can still be friends, I won't hold it against you. But if you like raisins, we may have to break up.) I opted for extra nuts instead of coconut. And I added flax instead of bran, and I used honey instead of corn syrup. I cut back the chocolate (I know! Who does that?!!) and added dried apricots instead. Like I said, you can monkey around with it and it will still turn out fantastic. If I see another recipe for an energy/granola bar, chances are I will give it a go, but I have a feeling I'll always come back to this one. If not for the deliciousness of it, but for the awesome memories it conjures up.
Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup corn syrup (OR honey)
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups large flake oatmeal
1/2 cup coconut (or chopped nuts)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (or your favourite seeds. pumpkin would be perfect)
1/3 cup wheat germ OR bran OR ground flax seed
2 tbsp sesame seeds ( I added a bit extra)
1 cup chocolate chips (I did half chocolate, half dried apricots. You could use other dried fruit)
Preheat oven to 350*F.
Line a 9x13 pan with parchment. In a saucepan, melt the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and honey, over low heat, stirring often. Stir in the vanilla once it's all a melted goo. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Pour the goo over the dry and stir well. Pour in to the prepared pan, and press it in. Bake for about 20 minutes, until edges are golden. It will set up when it cools. Chewy good!!!