I’ve been making these bars every week since oh, about October, and when I run out, I can’t wait to make them again.
Call me a creature of habit, but really, this is a new one and I’m still in that I’ve-got-a-crush-on-you stage.
You can make these with big flake oats, but I’m super-fond of muesli, which is like oats gone wild.
You may be thinking, what on earth? Muesli? That oddball melange of unsweetened oats and what not in the bulk section of the fancy schmancy organic grocery stores?
Right. This is what granola was before we poured all that sugar on top of it and made it into a high-fiber candy bar.
Not that I’m opposed to sugar – lord knows it has a special place in my life — but I do try to cut back and swap out (here with honey) when I can.
So, muesli. A Swiss concoction of dried oats, nuts, and fruit — a good thing to snack on if you’re hiking in the Alps or tooling around Spain and Morroco on a clipper ship, as I was recently. Muesli plus a spoonful or two of Greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey and some walnuts, and I was good to go.
I’m snacking on some right now, in fact.
I came up with a version of these bars for a Cowgirl Chef column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Then I kept playing around with it, cutting back as much as I could on the peanut butter and honey, so there’d be enough to glue the bar together without adding tons of extra calories. But listen, this is not meant to be a low-calorie bar. It’s my version of a power bar, with protein from the peanut butter and nuts.
I threw in baby chocolate chips on a whim and they’ve not become a permanent ingredient. Antioxidant, you know.
I’ve packed these on trains across France, on airplane rides back to Texas, and along road trips to New Mexico (and hikes in the mountains). I often eat one after yoga with my smoothie, too, and often take one with me to you-know-where for my afternoon coffee and work session. All of that is to say that they’re pretty perfect just about any time you’re feeling a bit peckish.
Needless to say, way cheaper than those power bars at the store…and with these, you know exactly what’s in them.
The only drawback is they stay firm when they’re in the freezer and tend to soften and crumble slightly when they’re not. I may play around with these at some point and see if a baked version works any better. But for now, I love these are so quickly assembled — and almost just as quickly eaten.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Power Bars
Makes 12 bars
- 2 cups of muesli* (the stuff I buy in France has oatmeal, wheat and rye flakes)
- 1 cup of dried apricots, dates, or your favorite dried fruit, chopped
- 1 cup of walnuts, toasted then roughly chopped
- ½ cup of mini chocolate chips
- ⅔ cup of peanut butter
- ¼ cup of honey
Smash everything together in a bowl, then press into an 8 x 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper or foil. Freeze for an hour or until firm. Slice into bars and wrap each one in plastic wrap and keep in the freezer till ready to eat — they’ll stay nice and firm that way.
*If you can’t find muesli, simply use an equal amount of mixed big flakes of oatmeal, wheat, rye, or whatever you like best.