Offbeat Bites: Peanut Butter Granola Squares

Chef’s note: These small granola bites are soft, chewy, and bring the classic combination of peanut butter and jelly to mind. Though they’re not exactly healthy for you, they’re mighty tasty, and they make the perfect treat to pass around class.

For a version that is purely PB&J, click here. Check out another salty-sweet recipe here, or click here for a minty version.

Though this recipe has all the essential ingredients for a granola bar, it tastes more like a candy bar.
Though this recipe has all the essential ingredients for a granola bar, it tastes more like a candy bar.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of rolled oats (not quick-cooking)

  • ½ cup of dried cranberries

  • ½ cup of almonds, sliced or slivered

  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

  • ½ cup of packed light brown sugar

  • ½ cup of smooth peanut butter

  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon of salt

  • 1 tablespoon of water

 

Preheat oven to 300F.

You may need to trim the pieces to fit the pan.
You may need to trim the pieces to fit the pan.

Line a square 8-inch baking pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper, leaving a 2 inch overhang on each side.

You need a large bowl for the dry ingredients - you’ll add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients later.
You need a large bowl for the dry ingredients – you’ll add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients later.

Mix together the oats, almonds, and cranberries in a large bowl.

The sugar never fully dissolves, but it’s more important that all the ingredients have combined into a thin liquid.
The sugar never fully dissolves, but it’s more important that all the ingredients have combined into a thin liquid.

In a small saucepan, whisk oil, brown sugar, peanut butter, cinnamon, salt, and water together. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thinned and the sugar begins dissolving. Let cool for about 3 minutes, then whisk in the egg.

Stir thoroughly, otherwise you’ll end up with huge chunks of dry oats.
Stir thoroughly, otherwise you’ll end up with huge chunks of dry oats.

Pour the sugar mixture over the oat mixture, and stir until the oats are coated.

The mixture should measure at about half an inch’s thickness when leveled out.
The mixture should measure about half an inch thick when leveled out.

Spread the resulting mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan, and smooth it out.

It is important to let the bars cool completely, because they’re a crumbly, goopy mess before they’ve finished cooling.
It is important to let the bars cool completely, because they’re a crumbly, goopy mess before they’ve finished cooling.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is firm. Let cool for 10 minutes, then pull it out from the pan using the parchment overhang as handles. Move to a cooling rack to cool completely for about 2 hours.

Cut into 16 squares using a serrated knife.

All photos by Lauren Quinn

 

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