Chocolate Almond Granola Bars
I have been on a rice krispy treat kick as of late. In college I worked at a restaurant that gave away all the rice krispy treats at the end of the day. I ate many of them on my walk home from work. So many in fact that I really never wanted to eat one agan. After a period of time away from them I tried one the other day and it was so tasty! Gooey and crispy all over.
Since then I have been wanting to make everything into a rice krispy like bar. After a week or so of this I realized it may not be the healiest of habits so I went on a hunt for a better alternative. After combining a tride and true granola bar recipe with some new ingredients, I came up with a deliciously sweet and salty bar. It's crunchy from the almonds, sweet from the chocolate chips and crispy from the cereal in it. This is perfect for afternoon snack or breakfast.
2 cups of quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cup plain cheerios
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chocolate chips, chopped finely
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
First, combine the first four ingredients in a very large bowl. Mix them well and set them off to the side. I like to use semi sweet chocolate chips, but mini chips work really well, too.
Heat the remaining ingredients over low heat until they are warmed through. This is the part of the recipe that will hold all the oats and cereal together.
While the wet ingredients are heating, take out some aggression on those cheerios. I like to use the end of a rolling pin to squish some of the cereal. This should not be a fine powder, you just need some of it to be smaller pieces to make it easier to eat.
Once the wet ingredients are heated through and gooey, add them to the dry ingredients. Make sure all of the dry stuff is coated with the mixture. If it looks a little dry, heat another tablespoon each of peanut butter and maple syrup. Once all the cereal and goodness is coated, press the whole thing into a 9 X 13 pan. Use the rolling pin from earlier to really press all the ingredients firmly.
Once the granola has been pressed really firmly into the pan, chill this for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Once the bars have cooled, cut them into squares or rectangles and keep them stored in an airtight container.
Sweet and salty bars of goodness, yay!