These bars look amazing. Like Jill‘s husband, I too went looking for snacks after reading this. And now, I’m off to make these!
I really enjoy eating snacks when hiking. I always look forward to taking a break and digging through my pack in search of the yummy treats I’ve packed to celebrate my body’s effort to get me to that special rest spot.
I’ve packed the traditional trail mix, Snickers bars, Cliff Bars in all their glorious flavors, homemade elk jerky, cheese and crackers, dried fruit, dark chocolate and the occasional can of Pringles chips.
I’m always on the lookout for that one special snack that stands out above all the others. It needs to be wonderfully tasty, healthy, packs lots of energy, easy to make and packs well – and I found it! They are No-Bake (YES!!) Peanut Butter (PROTEIN!!) Energy (I need all the energy I can get) Bars (makes for easy packing).
There are 3 basic ingredients: peanut butter, honey and oatmeal.
The great thing about these bars is that you can use Old Fashioned or Quick Cooking oats. You can use your favorite brand of chunky or smooth peanut butter. And you can use any flavor of honey. These luscious bars are very forgiving when it comes to the ingredients! The mixing and clean up of the bars is very easy – I simplify the clean up by lining the 9×9 dish I press the bars into with parchment paper.
Another simplification is this way cool silicone measuring cup I picked up last year.
You can throw it in the microwave and soften or melt what ever ingredient your heart desires. The recipe calls for the honey and peanut butter to be warmed in a saucepan as it makes the blending easier.
I measured the honey into my super duper way cool cup and warmed it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
Then I blended in the peanut butter until the mixture was smooth and creamy. Keeping in mind that I would be adding oatmeal to the mixture, I transferred it into a larger bowl.
I added the oatmeal, but didn’t stir it in as I would be adding other ingredients to the mixture. Now this is the fun part – or hard part – deciding what else to add to the bars. I raided my cupboard where I keep my baking ingredients. I pulled out chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, toffee bits, mini M&M’s, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and cashews. I knew I couldn’t add all those ingredients, so the elimination process began.
After a few minutes, I decided on dried cranberries and flax seeds. The tart flavor of the cranberries would blend in well with the peanut butter and honey. The flax seeds would add more nutrition. I really wanted the baking chips, but decided I’d save those for another day. I mixed the oatmeal and dried cranberries into the peanut butter mixture until thoroughly blended.
I took a spatula and scraped the mixture into the parchment lined baking dish. I spread the mixture evenly making sure I pressed the bars into the corners. I sprinkled 2 tablespoons of flax seed over the top. I then placed the mixture in the refrigerator for a quicker set. I think I kept them in there for an hour before cutting them into bars.
I took them out of the refrigerator, lifted the mixture from the dish and put it onto a cutting board. I then cut the mixture into 2×2-inch size bars. With Press ‘n’ Seal wrap, I made individual packages consisting of 2 bars each and placed them into a gallon size bag and stored them in the freezer. If I didn’t, there would not be one bar left to pack on a hike.
*sidenote: my husband, Dale, proofread this and is now rummaging through the freezer looking for a midnight snack!
My husband and I have packed these bars on a 5-day trip on the Colorado Trail – they make for a great quick breakfast when served with a cup of coffee at 12,000 feet elevation. They’ve been packed into the backcountry of the Uncompahgre Plateau to provide energy for a long day’s elk hunt. We’ve packed them on many weekend overnighters and have even used them used them as a dessert – they go great with a nice sweet Riesling. But, ultimately, they make a great snack for anytime, anywhere.
NO-BAKE PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BARS
1 cup peanut butter
¾ cup honey
3 cups oatmeal
Options for additional ingredients are endless ~ add as much or as little as you want.
There is no formula, so the sky’s the limit.