Peanut Butter Granola Bars
As a mom, I am always looking for recipes that are easy, healthy and delicious for my kids. Any recipe with too many steps that may require too much time, I simply don’t even try. Who has that much time?!? However, I really really do love to cook and bake so I still try to make foods for my family all the time. But how to keep the kids busy while I bake? Let them help! This M&M granola bar is the perfect recipe to cook as a family activity.
Cooking together has become something I love doing with my daughter and even though she is only two and a half, there is so much she can do in the kitchen! Pouring ingredients into the bowl, stirring and scooping batters are now among her favorite things to do. As we cook, I use the time to tell her all about what we are making, what each ingredient is called and how yummy it will be- this is fantastic when we make things like broccoli and then she is excited to eat it!
The only small issue when cooking with kids is that they want instant gratification. The second the cookie mix is stirred, they expect to eat a cookie. Understanding the concept of baking and waiting isn’t always there. So this recipe for M&M bars is perfect as there is no baking involved! My daughter can help measure and stir and then immediately eat! Such a huge benefit in the eyes of a 2 year old (and her mom!).
Healthy Peanut Butter Granola Bars
So besides being a great recipe to make with kids, these M&M granola bars are also pretty healthy and are an amazing replacement to store bough granola bars (you will never know the difference). Made with old fashioned rolled oats, peanut butter and rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies), these bars are full of fiber, protein and vitamins which are added primarily into the rice cereal. I also always love making snack foods where I can control or alter the sugar quantity as well, yet, these bars barely have any sugar to begin with especially when compared to the loads of corn syrup found in most prepackaged granola bars.
To start making these bars is simple and the entire process will only take about 10 minutes. The brown sugar, peanut butter, sugar and honey are melted together in a bowl in the microwave. You can also melt these over the stove top if you prefer. If you are making this recipe with your kids, let them stir the ingredients in the bowl until they are nicely blended- this is something that would take you about a minute but may keep them busy for 5 minutes…just stirring away….
No Bake Granola with M&M’s
The oats and rice cereal are then stirred in (again, let your kids stir!) along with the M&M’s and chocolate chips. This is another part of the recipe where you can get creative. Skip the M&M’s and add double the amount of chocolate chips or try adding raisins or nuts instead.
Add a scoop of ground flax seeds or chia seeds for some hidden bonus nutrition. The list of mix-ins you can add is endless so play around with your granola bars and stir in anything that sounds good to you. Just try to keep the quantities about the same as in the original recipe or you may end up with bars that are too loaded and fall apart.
Making Mini Granola Bars
I always use my hands to press the granola mixture into the pan and my daughter loves this part as well. Your hands will be able to get the bars nice and packed into the pan, ensuring that your bars hold together when cut later on. Your hands and the hands of any of your kitchen helpers will get super sticky and, as there are no raw ingredients that are unsafe, you can lick your hands clean! Yum!
When I am in a rush to eat these granola bars, I will pop the pan into the freezer for about 5 minutes and then cut the bars for quick satisfaction. Otherwise, let them set up in the fridge and then cut. My favorite way to store these is to wrap them individually in parchment paper or plastic wrap- it’s just like a store bought granola bar but better! Keeping them in the fridge is a good idea if the weather is particularly warm, otherwise room temperature is just fine.
This is the perfect example of a great easy recipe that everyone in the family will love and can also be a great family activity. So what are you waiting for? Go try some delicious M&M granola bars!
Peanut Butter Granola Bar Ingredients
- Old Fashioned Oats
- Rice Cereal
- Light Brown Sugar
- Peanut Butter
- Unsalted Butter
- Mini Chocolate Chips
- Mini M&Ms
More Simple Granola Recipes
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- ⅔ cups crispy rice cereal
- ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- ¼ cup honey
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup mini chocolate chips
- ½ cup mini M&M's
- Combine brown sugar, peanut butter, honey, and butter into a large microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave for 1 minute (or until butter is melted). Mix mixture until sugar is dissolved.
- Stir in oats and crispy rice cereal until evenly coated.
- Let mixture cool for 5 minutes in fridge.
- Line a 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper or foil, making sure paper hangs over on either side so you can pull out the granola bars and cut them up with ease.
- Take mixture out of fridge and fold in chocolate chips and mini M&M's then press mixture into the prepared dish.
- Press bars firmly with your hands, so candy doesn't fall out when cutting.
- Let the bars cool for several hours or place in the refrigerator to speed up process.
- Cut into bars and serve! 🙂