Peanut & Jelly Power Bars . . . finally a homemade granola-type bar that makes the grade!

    Last fall ABC Nightline crews were in Greeley, Colorado at one of the public school’s cafeteria. Juju Chang interviewed our nephew, Jeremy West, nutrition services director for Weld County District 6.
     Jeremy’s been on the forefront of Colorado’s back-to-scratch lunchroom cooking movement and his staff is involved with the Cook for America program that is also designed to promote healthier eating.
     On 1/24/2012 the Nightline show aired and related news stories were available in print and on the Internet. A recipe for Aspen Power Bars, linked to one of the articles, caught my eye.
     Full of oatmeal, fruit and either sunflower seeds or nuts, they reminded me of granola bars. Up to this point, my attempts to make a decent homemade bar have been dismal! Generally they crumble into hundreds of pieces or threaten to break our teeth as we struggle to take a bite!
     Based on past results, I did cut the recipe in half (just in case). And, of course, since Barry doesn’t care for coconut, I removed it and made a few other adjustments along the way.
     And . . . these granola-type bars actually made the grade! Flavorful, moist and, they cut without crumbling.
     They are full of protein (peanut butter and dry milk) and fiber. But, despite the fact that I did reduce some of the some of the sources of sugar, there is still quite a bit of it in the recipe.
     Below is my variation and following the recipe is a link to the original one and to a couple of stories about Jeremy’s lunchroom program.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bar —Aspen Power Bars (w/out the coconut)
Dry Ingredients:
1½ cups of dry, old fashioned oats
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
¾ cup sunflower seeds or chopped nuts (I used sunflower seeds)
¾ cup of powdered dry milk
¼ cup cup raisins
¼ cup cup dried cranberries

Wet Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup honey
Heaping ½ cup peanut butter
1 heaping teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup seedless raspberry jelly

1.     Line a 8½” x 12” sheet pan (termed a fourth pan in a commercial kitchen) with foil that overlaps the edges of the pan and spray with nonstick pan spray. (The foil allows you to easily lift the bars out of the pan after they have been baked and cooled.)
Check out our detailed instructions for lining pan with foil.
Yes, the recipe is on my i-Pad in the background!
2.     Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a mixer.
3.     In a saucepan, melt butter, and then add honey, peanut butter, vanilla extract and jam. Stir until all items melt and are combined.
4.     Pour melted ingredients over dry ingredients; mix ingredients well.
5.     Press firmly into prepared fourth sheet pan.
A latex glove is ideal for pressing the mixture into the pan.
6.     Bake at 400º (350º for convection oven) for 10 to 15 minutes.
7.     Cool. Grab edges of foil and pull bars out of pan. Remove foil and cut into bars.
Look - no crumbling bars!

Related Stories:

No comments:

Post a Comment