The dry ingredients to these no-bake Peanut Energy Bars that I made this morning are a combination of salted peanuts, roasted sunflower seeds, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, dark raisins, golden raisins, old-fashioned rolled oats and crisped brown rice cereal. Whew... what a list - right? Just use your favorite combination of dried fruit to equal two cups - if you don't have crisped brown rice cereal, Rice Krispies would be just fine.
We now needed to get all those healthy ingredients to stick together! I heated a mixture of homemade peanut butter (use any natural kind that suits your fancy), brown sugar, brown rice syrup, Lyle's Golden Syrup and a splash of vanilla until the mixture was bubblin' away. I did this in the microwave to speed the process along, but you could just as well do it on the stove over medium heat. I know the rice and golden syrup may be a little unfamiliar, but you could certainly use light corn syrup or a mixture of corn syrup and honey.
If you don't know those two ingredients, brown rice syrup is thick and sticky like honey, but tends to be not as sweet and metabolizes more slowly in your system. The Golden Syrup has a fantastic burnt sugar/caramel-esque flavor that can't be beat - also great for pouring over pancakes or drizzling on toast!
Once the wet and dry ingredients were thoroughly combined, the tacky-to-the-touch mass was pressed into a baking tin - be sure to press down firmly so all those tasty bits will grab a hold of one another. If it starts to get too messy, just coat your hands lightly with softened butter or cooking spray. Leave the tin be for just about an hour or so and you'll get cleanly cut pieces. The bars are thick, generously sized, just sweet enough and decidedly c-h-e-w-y! Since Jeff loves M&M's, I think the next time I make these I'll toss in a few instead of one of the dried fruits just for variety. Also, I definitely have plans to turn these out again, using cashew butter and salted cashews to replace the peanuts! If you're a fan of sweet and salty, I have a feeling you'll be just as pleased as we were - move over grocery store granola bars!
Peanut Energy Bars