Friday, May 6, 2011

No-bake Asteroid Granola Bars

I was trying to come up with a recipe for granola bars that my kids will eat. I often get lunch bags back at the end of the day with a rabbit-sized nibble off of the snack I sent along. I fully intended for them to consume my homemade treat in haste. Often this is not the case.

My kids just aren't fans of homemade granola bars thus far. I'm not sure what the problem is exactly- too chewy, too crunchy or too sweet? They refuse to even try new ones that I create because of past failures. Sadly this means that mommy eats too many granola bars than are actually good for her.

When I got the idea to incorporate the wildly popular asteroid cookies (see past posts) into the granola bar, they were finally ready to turn over a new leaf. Yes, it contains sugar. But it also contains nut-free protein in the form of sunflower seed butter, some oats and some rice cereal and it is a great portable snack for school to go along with that apple (and it looks like the granola bars that the cool kids get from the store- maybe even better!)

No-bake Asteroid Granola Bars
This bar uses crisped rice, not puffed rice (i.e. similar Rice Krispies but I buy a whole grain organic one). This recipe might work without the brown rice syrup but I like how it binds it really nicely the way store-bought granola bars do because of the syrup. You could make this into a true "power bar" by replacing some of the oats with some seeds, flaxmeal or nuts.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter (or another seed or nut butter)
1/4 cup organic brown rice syrup
1/3 cup organic cocoa (Camino, of course!)
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups crisped whole grain rice cereal
2 1/2 cups oats (I used quick cooking)

1. In a large saucepan, combine butter, sunflower seed butter, sugar, brown rice syrup, cocoa, milk and vanilla. Bring to a low boil and stir until combined and smooth, cooking for about 3-5 minutes.
2. Pour in cereals and mix until combined throughly.
3. Spoon cereal mixture into a buttered or wax paper-lined 8 X 8" pan. Press down firmly with oiled or butted hands or place another wax paper sheet on top and press down firmly with bottom of cup or hands.
4. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Cut into thin strips and cut into 2-3 pieces so they resemble "granola bars". I wrap them in compostable wax paper for a little treat that looks extra special!