Now, I would be the first to tell you that these are not going to win any beauty contests. That said, what they lack in looks, they more than make up for in taste. This week is our monthly Pot Luck at I Heart Cooking Clubs, where we continue to cook with Giada de Laurentiis, and I'm bringing these Peanut Butter Granola Bars to the party. Once word gets out about the deliciousness lurking behind that rather unattractive looking facade, these little bars will be wallflowers no more.
These have loads of texture - oats, slivered almonds and chunks of chocolate - only just held together with peanut butter, honey and brown sugar (all of which add their own flavour notes). When Deb at Kahakai Kitchen made these a few weeks ago, she mentioned that she had issues with crumbling, and as she discovered so did many others who commented on the original recipe. Many people offered all sorts of advice to resolve that - less of this, more of that, etc - but there also seemed to be nearly as many people who didn't have problems. Lacking the baking savvy (I've told you that before) to start tinkering with the recipe, these sounded good enough to me to risk a bit of "crumblage", so I decided to stick to the original recipe first time around.
The only changes I made to the recipe were: firstly, I didn't bother pre-toasting the almonds - just seems like a bit of an unnecessary step to me; secondly, I used a slightly smaller tin than that which was suggested (because that was what I had), so my bars are a little bit thicker than is perhaps intended - not necessarily a bad thing; and thirdly, and this was more by accident than design, was the cooking time. The recipe says, "Bake ...... 15 minutes. Remove from oven ..... cool ... 1 hour." My mind read "bake for 1 hour", and into the oven it went. At 30 minutes things were smelling very toasty, and I went to turn it around in the oven - my oven doesn't brown evenly, and everything has to be turned around about half way through cooking. At this stage, I thought "if this cooks for another 30 minutes it will be burnt to a crisp!" That was when I read the recipe properly. So my bars ended up with 30 minutes of baking instead of 15, which I think did firm them up quite a bit. After cooling at room temperature for about an hour, I then refrigerated for a couple more hours before cutting. End result - a little bit crumbly, but not too bad. I have found it necessary to keep them in the fridge though - as soon as they are left out of the fridge for a bit they start to crumble a bit more. Incidentally, these will not be dry and crisp as you might expect from a granola bar, but are actually more moist and soft - ever so slightly cakey - again, not necessarily a bad thing.
Can't help myself - I have been eating these for breakfast every morning. What? Don't raise your eyebrows at me. This is cereal, nuts, peanut butter, honey, and egg - how is that not breakfast?
Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Adapted from recipe by
Makes 16-24 bars (depending on size of tin)
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
vegetable cooking spray
1 egg white (save the yolk for mayonnaise)
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).
Spray a 18cmx27cm (7x10-3/4 inch) (I used a 20cm (8 inch) square) non-stick baking tin with cooking spray. Line with baking paper, allowing excess paper to extend beyond edges of the tin, and spray the paper lightly with cooking spray - don't be tempted to leave this out.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Stir in the peanut butter, brown sugar and honey. Add the melted butter, rolled oats and slivered almonds. Stir to combine everything, and then stir in the chocolate chips.
Tip the mixture into the prepared baking tin, and spread out, pressing lightly to form an even layer. Bake until the edge of the mixture begins to brown - about 15 minutes (I baked for 30 minutes). Remove from the oven, cool for at least an hour, then refrigerate for another 2-3 hours, before cutting into squares.
Store in the refrigerator.
Interested in getting to know Giada a bit better? Then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and see what they've all been cooking up ....
.... or check out Giada's Kitchen and many of her other titles, available from Amazon, Book Depository UK and Fishpond NZ