Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars

We like granola bars around here so I came up with my own recipe and they were a big hit.  Even though a lot of store bought granola bars claim to be healthy, I really question the nutritional value of some of the ingredients.  

I used a natural peanut butter because regular peanut butter has high fructose corn syrup in it and I’m trying to reduce our consumption.  It’s difficult to find anything without it these days.   I used Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter with Honey and I really liked it.  Since I only used three tablespoons, I’m going to get a lot of batches of granola bars from my jar.  Also, I used an off-brand of just about everything else to reduce costs.

You could certainly throw in some dried fruit and change what type of nuts you use.  Next time I will probably throw in some wheat germ, too.  Mini dark chocolate chips would be great, too.  These are especially good because they’ve got the salty-sweet thing going on, but I’ll have to admit that I had to resist the urge to dip them in chocolate. 

I like to put them in bags of two so my crew can grab a bag as they leave.

Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars

2-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

3/4 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

4 tablespoons butter

3 heaping tablespoons natural style peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Place the oats, sunflower seeds, and walnuts on baking sheet to toast for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, stirring several times.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the brown sugar, honey, butter, peanut butter, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted and combined.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Place the oat mixture in a large mixing bowl; add the peanut butter mixture and stir to coat.
  4. Line a 9 x 9-inch pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.  Pack the oat mixture into the pan evenly.  Cool completely, then remove from pan and peel off the foil.  Cut into bars.

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