Can you keep a secret? It’s pretty major, so listen up….
My sisters are superheroes.
Really, they are amazingly awesome, powerfully strong, saving the world-type superheroes. Be it working full time while simultaneously planning, coordinating, and running an entire film festival (another full time job in itself), getting a Master’s degree while concurrently interning at inner city schools as a social worker, or simply being incredible friends, listeners, givers of advice and all around amazing people, my sisters top the list as two of the most incredible and inspirational women I have ever met. Despite being the tallest of us three…I look up to them both each and every day.
Let’s face it, being a superhero is hard work (and not to mention exhausting)! Therefore, the other day when I was reflecting on the natural awesome-ness of my sisters, I thought I would make them some tasty energy bars to keep them fueled for whatever villains they may battle this week.
This is where my granola bars come in. While these chewy treats are filled with protein and fiber to keep you going strong for hours, they are not just some boring granola bar. They have a great blend of flavors from the peanuts and almonds, and the extra addition of chocolate chips provides the perfect sweet balance.
What is really great about this granola bar recipe, however, is that you can COMPLETELY cater it to your own tastes. Allergic to peanuts? Substitute another favorite nut and nut butter. Don’t want chocolate? Switch it out for your favorite dried fruit or shredded coconut. The rule of thumb to follow is use 3 cups of oats, one 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk (regular or low fat) 2 tablespoons of some type of nut butter, and 3-3 1/2 cups whatever filler you would like. The options are endless, so get creative!
If you want a chewy granola bar, be sure to take the bars out when the edges are just getting golden brown; the center will finish cooking in the pan as it cools on the counter. If you prefer crunchy, just leave the pan in the oven a few minutes longer, it is as simple as that! These granola bars will last a week on your counter if they are sealed in an airtight container.
To all of you superheroes out there: super moms, dads, sisters, brothers, students, friends, grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles… this recipe is for you. I hope you enjoy!
Super Hero Granola Bars
Yield: 18 bars
- 3 cups oats
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (regular or low fat; I use regular)
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter – melted in microwave 30 seconds
- 1 cup peanuts
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup raisins, craisins, other dried fruit (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Fill a bowl or large glass with hot water and place UN-OPENED can of condensed milk in the water. Let sit for a few minutes. This will make pouring and combining the milk much easier later on.
- Line a jelly roll pan (10×15) with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix together the oats, sweetened condensed milk, melted peanut butter, peanuts, almonds, chocolate chips and dried fruit (if using). Stir until well combined.
- Press mixture flat into the prepared pan. I used a square piece of parchment paper coated with cooking spray to help press it flat without sticking.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, depending on how crunchy you prefer your granola bars. If you want them chewy, take them out when they are lightly brown around the edges.
- Let cool for 5 minutes, cut into squares then let cool completely before serving. I cut my bars 6 by 3, so they have the traditional granola bar look.