Homemade Granola Bars is a good recipe to start our "get rid of the preservatives week" with because really, you can tell yourself (and your kids) that you are just making cookies. And as fast as these bars disappear--you'd think they were cookies.
I've been working on this recipe for a long time. This is an instance where I wanted to replicate my favorite store brand, so that's why it is the way it is. This includes the addition of crisp rice cereal (and peanut butter chips). This cereal really helps keep the bar light. Even with that addition these bars still have way less preservatives than what the grocery store sells. But if you want-- exchange them out for more oats.
Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bar Recipe:
3/4 C butter, softened
1/2 C honey
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 C rolled oats
1 1/2 C crisp rice cereal
1/2 C chocolate chips
1/2 C peanut butter chips
1/2 C peanut pieces (I put peanuts in a plastic bag and give my son a mallet and 60 seconds.)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter one 9x13 inch pan.
In a large mixing bowl combine the butter, honey, and brown sugar. Add the vanilla, flour, and baking soda, mix to combine. Add the oats, crisp rice and remaining mix-ins. Firmly press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. When you remove from oven, use the back of a spatula to press down and compact the bars. (This will make them easier to hold without them falling apart.)Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.
**For oatmeal raisin granola bars leave out chips and peanuts, add 1 cup raisins.
Makes 24 1 x 4 inch granola bars. Freeze extras--though I doubt there'll be any.