That is until I tried this new recipe for homemade, no-bake granola bars.
You see, a single box of granola bars (the Quaker Oats Chewy variety) doesn't make it's way around the snack table once. Only 8 or is it 10 in box? That just won't do. After-school snacks can kill a budget. And so granola bars and things of the like have become rare grocery splurges.
I have made this recipe at least 4 times now. (A double batch makes approx 3 dozen bars...cut to the same size as the Quaker kind.) My kids say they are the "Bomb." Even "better than the real ones."
No-Bake Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
(a double batch fills both a 9x13 and an 8x8 pan perfectly, and yields about 36 bars.)
Ingredients:1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup crispy rice cereal
3/4 cup chopped pretzels
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1. Cut out an 8 x 8 inch square of parchment paper. Place the parchment paper in the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. My note:make your paper larger than the bottom of the pan! The bars are so much easier to cut if you can lift the whole block right out of the pan with the edges of the paper, and cut them on your countertop/cutting board.
2. In a large sauce pan, add butter, brown sugar, honey and peanut butter. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture starts to bubble. Once bubbling, cook for 2 minutes while stirring. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
3. Stir in the oats, crispy cereal, and pretzels. Stir until well coated. Pour into the prepared pan. Press the mixture evenly into the pan. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips over the top and gently press into the granola bars with your hands. Seriously: skip the pressing, and just drizzle (less than it calls for) melted chocolate lightly over the top.
4. Place the bars in the refrigerator and let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Cut into bars and serve.
Note-I store the bars in the refrigerator. I've kept them in the fridge for up to a week and they are still tasty!
Adapted from Rachael Ray