Some of you may know that I perpetually struggle with no-bake cookies. You know, the yummy oats/peanut butter/chocolate cookie? The one you mix together in a saucepan on your stove and then drop onto wax/parchment paper? No baking required? So easy, right?
Yeah, I can never get it right. Inevitably they turn out gooey, greasy, and looking remarkably like poo. They still taste good, once you roll them off the paper or just take a spoon to the pan. No matter what, they REFUSE to harden or set for me! I have tried different tactics, boiling the ingredients for a certain amount of time before adding the oats, boiling the oats with the ingredients, etc. Nothing. Just add it to the list of things I cannot make (like a pretty omelet or pancake. It's not possible. Must be my [lack of] flipping skills).
Recently when I was reading one of my favorite blogs, www.moneysavingmom.com, I came across a recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars. They intrigued me (I have made several different versions of homemade granola bars, by the way), and so I made a pan last week. And ate them by myself in a couple of days. I just made another pan yesterday and it is already gone! Nathan tried one Sunday afternoon after asking what was in them. "Peanut butter, oats, chocolate...kind of like no-bake cookies," I told him. After tasting them, he confirmed that they tasted A LOT like no-bake cookies--but better! I have linked to the original recipe below (that's a picture of the bars from the original source), but here's the way I adapted it.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup butter (I use unsalted, but salted would give a good contrast to the sweetness)
2-3 TBS wheat germ
1 cup + 2-3 TBS whole oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
In a saucepan on the stove, melt butter together with the peanut butter and honey, stirring until they are well mixed. Remove from heat and stir in wheat germ and oats.* Allow to cool and stir in chocolate chips--or stir in chocolate chips immediately for a more consistent chocolatey taste (I can't ever wait long enough). Line an 8x8 pan with aluminum foil, turn mixture out onto aluminum foil and press flat. Refrigerate bars until set, at which point you can cut them into bars or squares. Keep in the refrigerator for 'harder' bars; they will be soft if left at room temperature.
*The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut, which I do not like. Instead I use a little more wheat germ and whole oats. You could add in something else as well.
You should try these out--I bet you won't make just one pan!! PS--look at how little sugar they have compared to no-bake cookies! That's my favorite part.