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 do I 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. Even the littlest kitchen helpers will be able to assist with this delicious snack recipe that makes for a perfect project.
Baking With Kids
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 actually 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. A few more M&M’s or a few less and a touch less honey and your bars can be customized to suit your needs.
Sure you can leave out the m&M’s completely but isn’t life all about having a little bit of fun and chocoately goodness? I am actually quite a stickler when it comes to eating sweets but even I will give my daughter one of these colorful bars as a special treat. We all deserve a treat every now and then!
Also, it is pretty cool to see how M&M’s are made. Let your kids watch this fun video while you get everything together for this recipe. Just be warned, they will definitely want to eat a few M&M’s after seeing this (you will too!).
How To Make No Bake Granola Bars
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. The main ideas is to soften the ingredients so that they are easy to mix. This will ensure that everything is blended together nicely and evenly.
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 or even 10 minutes…just stirring away….maybe you could even get a few dishes done while they stir. Give your kids a big spoon or rubber spatula to stir that will really help the ingredients get mixed well.
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. You could add:
- Double chocolate chips
- Peanut butter chips
- Dried cranberries
- Shredded coconut
- Essentially anything you love in a store bought granola bar can be added in!
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. You can cut these bars to be any size you’d like. Mini granola bars for your kids, regular sized for the adults.
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. The will keep at room temperature for about a week and in the fridge for about three weeks but they will never stick around that long, they are too good!
Easy Healthy Snack Recipes
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. No bake granola bars with M&M’s are a perfect healthy snack with a little bit of chocolate goodness- a great combination! Even the pickiest eaters will love them. 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
Full of beneficial oats, protein packed peanut butter and crunchy rice cereal, these nutritious M&M granola bars are a recipe you need to try.
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 2/3 cups crispy rice cereal
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1/2 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 8×8 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! 🙂
- To really get the granola bars to stick together well and not crumble when you cut them, use a mini rolling pin to push the granola into the pan.
- For a bar with less sugar, skip the honey and add an extra ¼ cup peanut butter
- Mini M&M’s definitely work best as they blend well into the mix and aren’t in the way when it comes time to cut the bars.
- Make a double batch then wrap and freeze half. These bars will keep well in the freezer for up to three months if wrapped tightly. Just take out of the freezer and leave at room temperature to thaw.