My 3-year-old son loves granola bars. Loves them. Unfortunately, his favorites are enrobed in a thick casing of chocolate. Delicious, yes, but not the healthiest treat. So I set out to make a granola bar that he would find just as tasty, but would fill his belly with healthier ingredients.
I'm always looking for ways to sneak protein and fiber into Danny's meals. These granola bars feature oats, peanut butter, almonds, and chia seeds to add nutritional punch. A sprinkling of mini chocolate chips, and he overlooks the healthy stuff. That's a win in my book.
And since my boy enjoys a cooking project, we got to make this snack together. Full bellies? Check. Mother-son bonding? Double-check.
Let's get cooking!
No-Bake Granola Bars
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
2 cups quick oats*
1 cup Rice Krispies
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons chia seeds
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
Scant 1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Line a 9" square baking dish with aluminum foil. (I'm sure an 8" dish would work just fine, too. Your bars will just be slightly thicker.) The non-shiny side of the foil is non-stick, so make sure the shiny side is down so the non-shiny side will be touching the granola bars.
In a large bowl, stir together oats, Rice Krispies, almonds, and chia seeds. Set aside.
Combine butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, honey, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring mixture to a boil. Allow it to boil for two minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla.
Very carefully pour melted peanut butter mixture over oat mixture and stir until everything is completely combined. Place into prepared baking dish and press granola bar mixture into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and gently press so they adhere.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Slice into bars that are the best size for your family. I cut mine into 18 bars, and that seemed just right. (Although Danny could eat two per serving!) Store in the fridge.
*Since I didn't cook these granola bars, I used quick oats. I think old fashioned oats would be too chewy. But let me know how they turn out if you make a substitution!