Peanut Butter Cranberry Go-Bars

  • cooking oil spray
  • 1 cup regular rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 3 Tbsp flax seed
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp each, baking powder & salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts
  • 12 dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried mission figs
  • 3/4 cup natural chunky peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 large egg
  • finely shredded zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1. Line a 9 x 13″ pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang on the 9″ sides, and coat with cooking oil spray.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together oats, oat bran, flax seeds, flour, baking powder, salt , peanuts, cranberries, and figs until well blended.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together peanut butter, milk, egg, honey, lemon zest, and lemon juice until well blended.

3. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture and beat until completely blended.  Scrape dough into pan and with wet fingers or a rubber spatula, pat to fill pan completely and evely (dough is sticky, so you may need to wash your hands a few times).  Chill dough until firm, about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Invert pan onto a work surface, lift off pan, and peel off plastic.  Using a bench scraper or knife, cut straight down lengthwise through middle, then crosswise to make 16  bars, each 1 1/2″ wide.  Place bars about 1″ apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

5. Bake bars until lightly browned and somewhat firm to touch, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

If you make this ahead, it can be stored for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container, (and I personally recommend keeping in the fridge.  Where I live the humidity grows mold on bread within a day or 2).

Serves 16, Time 1 hour, plus 30 minutes to chill.  227 Cal., 40% (87 Cal) from fat; 6.7 G Protein; 10 G fat (1.5 G Sat); 35 G Carbo (5.2 G Fiber); 109 MG Sodium; 13 MG Chol.

Loaded with good-for-you ingredients, these not-too-sweet bars still taste like treat, and they’ll withstand cold, heat, and being stuffed in a backpack or pocket.  Natural peanut butters vary from brand to brand in terms of spread-ability; we prefer Laura Scudder’s Old Fashioned Nutty Peanut Butter, because it makes a moister, chewier bar.

I stole this recipe from Sunset Magazine article by Stephanie Dean (not sure if she is the originator of the recipe) and hopefully I won’t get into trouble by publishing this/these recipes out of their magazine (free plug for them anyways).  This is the only magazine I subscribe to for all the diversity and wide range of variety on everything from travel to recipes to gardening to decorating.  Love, Love, Love that magazine – they’ve even made me an honorary panel member. 😛

 

Cashew Bars

An energy bar with a little bit of sophistication.  Follow the directions for peanut butter cranberry go-bars but substitute 1/2 cup chopped roasted salted cashews for the peanuts, an additional 1/2 cup chopped dried mission figs for the cranberries, and 3/4 cup cashew butter for the peanut butter. 

 

Sesame date Bars

Made with a not to the flavors of the Middle East.  Follow the directions for the peanut butter cranberry go-bars, but increase oat bran to 1 cup.  Substitute 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds for the peanuts, 1 cup chopped pitted dates for the figs and cranberries, and 3/4 cup tahini (sesame paste) for the peanut butter; then add 2 Tbsp more honey.

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