Sunday, February 12, 2012

Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola Bars

About a month ago, I found my new favorite snack. And just last weekend, I found my new second favorite snack. Although I'm not at all surprised that the gods of precision cooking at America's Test Kitchen have created this fantastic recipe, I just can't get enough of these delicious granola bars. The best way I can describe them is like Nature Valley peanut butter crunchy granola bars, but much better. When I'm short on time, I won't hesitate to reach for one of the Nature Valley variety, but if I can spare an hour or so, I'll be going straight for this recipe. Just one batch of these granola bars will provide me with enough mid-morning work snacks for a couple of weeks (if I don't have to share), which is well worth the couple of minutes invested for each. These granola bars are just the right combination of saltiness and sweetness, with each carefully chosen ingredient contributing something to these perfect little squares of happiness. Once I finish making my way through this initial batch, I already have plans to swap out the almonds for the peanuts and almond butter for the peanut butter for what I think will be a different, but equally tasty, riff on these granola bars. That is, if I can resist the urge to try out their chewy granola bars first...

Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola Bars
from the America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook
makes 16 bars

3/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, chopped coarse
3 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey
1/2 packed (3 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons peanut butter

1. Adjust an oven rack tot he middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with an aluminum foil sling and coat lightly with vegetable oil spray.

2. Toast the peanuts in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the oats and oil to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until golden and fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the toasted oats to the bowl with the peanuts and stir in the salt.

3. Add the honey and brown sugar to the skillet and simmer gently over medium-low heat, stirring often, until sugar is fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, and peanut butter.

4. Working quickly, stir the hot honey mixture into the peanut-oat mixture until thoroughly combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and pack very firmly into an oven layer. Bake the granola until golden, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

5. Let the granola cool for 10 minutes, then remove it from the dish using the foil and cut into 16 bars. Let the bars cool completely before serving.


  1. Mine comes out crumbly, and not crunchy... What'd I do wrong?! lol

  2. I made these tonight and they look delicious. Can't wait to try one tomorrow! Thanks for the great recipe!