2 cups old fashioned oats (use certified GF oats if necessary)
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup peanuts, lightly crushed
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
For the chocolate topping
1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, melted
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the oats, peanut butter, crushed peanuts (to crush my peanuts, I put them in a small sandwich bag and use a rolling pin to break them up. Easy!), and honey or maple syrup into a large bowl and mix well.
Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. Transfer the mixture to the dish and use your hands to spread it out to the edges. Take another sheet of parchment paper and lay it on top of the mixture. Press it firmly down. Use something heavy to do this. I use a large can of tomatoes. Don’t skip this part! When making homemade granola bars, I’ve found this step to be crucial for them to hold together well and have the best texture.
Pull the parchment paper off of the top and bake the in the preheated oven for 12 minutes. Don’t throw the parchment paper away-you will need it again!
When the bars are finished baking, pull them out of the oven and put the parchment paper back on top of them. Once again, press them down firmly into the dish. I use the big ol’ can of tomatoes again to do this. Put them in the fridge to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
Pull the mixture out of the pan with the parchment paper and use a sharp knife to cut them into bars.
Meanwhile, melt your chocolate chips and coconut oil and mix them together. (The coconut oil is optional. I find it spreads better and leaves a nicer finish with coconut oil, but it’s fine without it, too.) Spread the chocolate over the bars evenly using a rubber spatula.
Return to the refrigerator to let the chocolate firm, and then cut into bars again. Store bars in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
I’ve used both honey and maple syrup to make these, and even though the picture shows maple syrup, I prefer the honey