Frugal Food: Make Your Own Chewy Granola Bars

moneyMy kids are crazy for those chewy granola bars. They love to take them with their school lunches or to the park when they might need a snack. They are very convenient to have. Unfortunately, the price of chewy granola bars has been rising, all while the amount you get in a package has been shrinking. Combine that cost with the unsavory ingredients in some of them (“natural” versions are even more expensive), it only makes sense to create my own homemade version.

I experimented with a number of recipes but wound up settling on one that uses honey as the sweetener, plus oats, which we get cheaply in bulk. It is cooked on the stove, so no oven is needed, making it easy to prepare even in the summer. Plus, the recipe comes together so quickly, that I often make it in the morning, while I am getting the kids  ready for school.

 

After making the homemade chewy granola bars, I allow them to cool, cut them into rectangles or squares and then wrap them individually in aluminum foil. The granola bars then go into a bowl or container for easy access.

 

Sometimes I make a variety of flavors, but my kids like the peanut butter chocolate chip ones the best.

 

Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

 

Ingredients:

 

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

2 cups quick cooking oats

1 cup rice krispies cereal (I use a generic brand)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark chocolate, mini, whatever you have on hand)

 

Directions:

 

Lightly spray a 9 x 11 pan with cooking spray.

 

In a large bowl, stir together the oats and the rice krispies. Set aside.

 

In a small saucepan, combine the butter, honey, and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until everything is melted and combined. Stir frequently. Simmer (just a light bubbling) for two minutes.

 

Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and the peanut butter. Pour the mixture over the oats and rice krispies. Allow to cool for one minute and then stir in the chocolate chips.

 

Press the mixture into the prepared pan. Make sure to do a good job, or the bars won’t stick together too well when they are cool. Allow the bars to cool at room temperature for at least two hours.  Cut into rectangles or squares.

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for Families.com since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT verizon.net or visit her personal blog http://homeinawoods.wordpress.com

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