peanut butter granola bars

I've learned a lot since I first started cooking, especially that it's possible to make just about everything from scratch. There are a few exceptions, of course, but my days of buying jarred mayonnaise and marinara sauce are far behind me. Granola bars are the final frontier. I've thought about making them for months, and finally got around to it when two of our very good friends moved away several weekends ago.

I say this as if they traveled across state lines, when really, they're just outside Los Angeles county. But any Angelino will understand that 25 miles in this town isn't just the distance. It's a potential traffic nightmare. Also, I should mention that for the past three years, we've all lived in the same neighborhood, about a 12 minute walk away. This became very convenient for spontaneous dinner parties, and especially when they brought home their new puppy who needed walks. It made sense to walk over to its aunt and uncle's house for a visit! So, we'll still see them, but we'll miss the proximity we shared.

I made these granola bars for moving day. Food seems to be the last thing on people's minds when it comes time to fill up a U-Haul, so I thought I'd come prepared. Granola bars lend themselves to experimentation, and I had plenty of ideas how to jazz this recipe up, like adding dried apples. But Andrew is a purist when it comes to peanut butter, so I left them plain (for now), which actually isn't too shabby.


Take the time to combine the ingredients well before spreading into the baking dish, otherwise you'll find the peanut butter isnt' evenly distributed among the bars.

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse

¾ cup honey
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Coarse salt
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup light-brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degree, in a small saucepan, heat ¼ cup honey and butter over low. Cook, stirring, until butter melts, 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, and a pinch of salt. Drizzle honey mixture over oat mixture and stir to combine; wipe saucepan clean. Spread mixture evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely on sheet, 10 minutes. Return to large bowl and add raisins; stir to combine.
Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking dish. In saucepan, combine ½ cup honey, almond butter, and brown sugar over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil and sugar dissolves, 3 to 5 minutes. Drizzle over oat mixture and stir until well combined; transfer to baking dish. With a spatula, firmly press granola into dish. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour, and then cut into 16 bars or squares. (Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.)