When my family gets to go visit Meme and Papa in Idaho, one of our favorite destinations is Galena Lodge.
And, whenever at Galena, we pick up a Don Bar or two for the trails.... I have a complete crush on Don Bars. If there's a man behind the bar, then it's safe to say I have a crush on him too. But I'll be damned if every time I try to weasel a recipe out of the cashier up at Galena I get a hands-in-the-air, "he won't tell us the recipe either!" response.
Humph. Not one to be easily dissuaded by a culinary challenge, I made it my mission on New Year's Day to recreate the Don Bar. Instead of concocting a new green smoothie, or listing off all the ways I'd like to "improve" in 2013, I headed into the kitchen and hauled out what I thought were the likely ingredients....
oats, chocolate chips, honey, peanut butter and puffed brown rice. And then I set to toasting, heating and mixing.
The verdict? Oh my. They're different than Don Bars, but boy, are they ahhhmazing. Now we have a new special after school treat, and an energy bar worthy of our East Coast winter weekend adventures. In coming days, I'll balance this decadence with some new healthy family dinner ideas, and probably a green smoothie or two. But, this was the perfect recipe to kick off 2013. I hope that your family enjoys it as much as mine does!!
Peanut Butter-Chocolate Granola Bars
(makes one 9x11" pan, or about 24 bars)
2 cups oats, toasted
16 oz jar creamy peanut butter* (2 cups)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup water (*optional)
2 cups puffed rice cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
Toast the oats on a rimmed baking sheet for a few minutes (6 minutes, or so, stirring once or twice), until golden brown. Set aside. In a saucepan large enough to hold all of the ingredients, melt the peanut butter, honey and water (if you are adding it) until combined and easy to stir. Turn off heat. Add the oats, puffed rice and chocolate chips. Stir to combine. Press batter into a parchment paper-lined 9x11" pan. Cover with parchment paper and chill in fridge for at least an hour, until firm. Slice into squares or bars. I individually wrap the bars for a simple grab-and-go snack. May be stored at room temp or in the fridge for several days (if they last that long). I am also going to try freezing them, and will report back on whether that works too...
*Ingredient-wise, you want to use peanut butter that is 100% peanut, nothing else. This type of peanut butter is really firm, so you can add a little bit of water to the saucepan to thin it a bit, as I did in the batch above.