I apologize! I said I would post a recipe yesterday BUT I had no power starting Friday night through Saturday night so that made things kind of difficult... Hopefully these granola bars can make up for my tardiness!
When I was a kid, I used to inhale those Quaker Chewy Granola Bars. My mom would always have to stop me before I ate the whole box… I mean, they are pretty much like “healthy” candy bars or at least they used to be. So once I got started eating them, it was game over for those babies. I was an all-or-nothing type of kid when it came to eating. I’d either eat everything in the pantry (i.e., every piece of chocolate I could find) or refuse to eat for days, especially when they tried to feed me squash (which I surprisingly now LOVE). Unfortunately, this trait has kind of stayed with me into my adult life, which is why I’m glad these granola bars are not like candy bars! I can eat as many as I want! Though, I’m not going to lie… The second bar I ate after making these may or may not have been smothered in peanut butter with a few dark chocolate chips sprinkled on top (... hello candy granola bar). I highly recommend trying that if you make these…
Normally, one would use all oats for the base ingredient when making granola bars. However, I found that substituting some crushed rice chex cereal for oats was fantastic, not only for texture but calories too! These bars are low calorie and dairy free. I love swapping out butter for unsweetened applesauce when baking! Applesauce is a great substitute for butter and/or oils. Same goes for bananas (I have a recipe for you next week demonstrating this). Yay for healthy snacks!
Rice Chex Granola Bars
Yield: 16 granola bars
Calories: 95 calories per bar
Total Time: about 5 hours (prep time only 15 minutes)
- 4 cups rice chex cereal, crushed (this should be about 2 cups crushed)
- 2 cups quick oats
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp raw honey
- 2 tbsp PB2 + 1 tbsp water (or 2 tbsp normal creamy peanut butter - this will add extra calories)
- optional: brown sugar (for sprinkling - I used about one tbsp)
1. Crush rice chex cereal in a large bowl using your hands until only small pieces remain. It’s okay if a few larger pieces remain but you want the bulk of it to be small pieces.
2. Add oats to the bowl with crushed rice chex and stir to combine.
3. Prepare peanut butter by mixing PB2 with water in a small bowl until creamy (skip this step if using normal peanut butter).
4. Combine applesauce, vanilla, honey and peanut butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat until ingredients are melted together and creamy/gooey, about 5-10 minutes.
5. Pour warm gooey applesauce mixture from step 4 over the chex oat mixture and stir until dry ingredients are completely intertwined with wet ingredients (well combined).
6. Line a 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper. Pour mixture from step 5 into the dish and smooth out using a spatula until mixture completely fills the dish. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top then push it into the bars using your fingertips. Refrigerate for about 5 hours to allow granola bars to harden.
7. Once hardened, remove from fridge, slice into 16 bars and enjoy!
Note: I stored my granola bars in the fridge. I recommend doing the same! Mine stayed fresh for about one week.
The recipe is very simple and you can definitely add your own flare to it like dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc... The possibilities are endless! I wanted to start with a bare minimum granola bar so I can always add whatever I’m craving that day to it. What you would add to make these granola bars better?! Tell me your thoughts! Happy Sunday!