Peanut butter and jelly is the savior of the busy, active person. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-grain bread has staying power — whole grains for fiber, nut butter for protein, and jelly for a sweet kick and a burst of energy.
However, I will readily admit that for those who are gluten-free or averse to refined sugar, a standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich might not have the same appeal as it holds for me. The sandwich is also not great for breakfast, not a great way to get a fruit serving, and probably could benefit from less overall processing and wheat flour.
But it’s perfect for a granola bar, one that pairs nicely with an apple or banana for a quick on-the-go breakfast but which can also stand alone as a midday pick-me-up. It’s also vegan, gluten-free and free of refined sugar, making it almost guilt-free as well.
For those of you who do not eat peanuts or are allergic, almond butter and almonds or any sort of nut butter and nuts would work in this recipe. This is a heavily modified version of Angela Liddon’s Present Glo Bars recipe from The Oh She Glows Cookbook — hers contained more of a variety of ingredients and was peanut-free, but I wanted a simple, uncomplicated recipe that would let the flavors shine through.
These keep well in your desk drawer for a few days, but they do soften at room temperature, so keep the extras in your fridge or freezer. They’ll last a month in the freezer, but I’m pretty sure you’ll eat them faster than that!
- 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
- 1 1/4 cups puffed millet or rice cereal
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup peanut butter (any kind will do, or sub in almond butter)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine oats, millet, cranberries, salt, and peanuts in a large bowl. Stir until well combined.
- In a small saucepan, stir maple syrup and nut butter over medium-low heat until smooth and it begins to bubble. Remove from heat; add in vanilla and stir.
- Pour peanut butter and syrup over the grain mixture in the large bowl. Stir very well, until every little bit of the grain mixture is covered in syrup.
- Scoop into a 9×9 square baking pan lined with parchment or waxed paper. Spread evenly, then press down VERY firmly with a meat pounder, the bottom of a bottle, or just your fingers. You want these to be as compacted as possible so they don’t crumble when you eat them, so keep pressing.
- Once compacted, freeze for half an hour. Lift square out of the pan using the parchment or waxed paper as handles, then cut into 12 bars. Enjoy!