My family is a major consumer of packaged granola bars, breakfast bars, protein bars, etc. — you name it, we eat it. They are just an easy (and sometimes healthy) snack to throw into backpacks and lunchbags. While I love the convenience, the idea of having a healthy stash of homemade, unprocessed bars in my fridge is also appealing. So I’m going to try a few recipes to see if I can find something my kids enjoy as much as the packaged stuff.
First up is a Looneyspoons Collection recipe called Goody Two Chews. They are sweet, chewy, and have a big hit of pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t love pumpkin pie spice, cut it back or swap for cinnamon). I found a video of Greta Podleski demonstrating the recipe, and I have included my version of the recipe below. The original recipe calls for light peanut butter (I used regular) and dried cranberries (I used dried cherries); you can certainly swap in your own favorites. For the low-fat granola, definitely try to use Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax Plus Granola. It has pumpkin seeds but no dried fruit, so perfect for this recipe. And, well, it’s delicious.
My kids did not care for these granola bars — they seemed put off by all the cherries (even though my youngest, Lauren, could eat a whole bag of dried cherries in one sitting). But that’s okay, because that means more for me. The combination of peanut butter with pumpkin seeds and cherries is quite addictive. I really enjoyed these. I tried them out on my husband and also my friend Beth, just to make sure I wasn’t biased…they loved them as well. Perhaps the flavors are just a bit too exotic for the average kid palate. They requested something more in the ballpark of chocolate chips and oats, so stay tuned.
Peanut Butter Cherry Granola Bars (adapted from Janet & Greta Podleski’s, “The Looneyspoons Collection”)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 egg whites
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 1/2 cups Pumpkin Flax Plus Granola
3/4 cup chopped dried cherries
Preheat oven to 250F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, beat together peanut butter and maple syrup with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add egg whites and pumpkin pie spice and beat again until smooth.
Stir in granola and dried cherries. Divide mixture evenly among muffin cups (about 3/4 full). Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before removing clusters from pan. Store in an airtight container.