If your family is like mine it goes through a lot of granola bars.  Granola bars are great to pack sack lunches, quell the late afternoon hunger pains and to take along a favorite hiking trail.  In the last few years our vacations have taken us on hiking and backpacking adventures where the need for lightweight food staples are a must.  Granola bars that contain fruit, nuts and peanut butter are almost always sought after for the energy they provide. By making granola bars at home you can create flavors from fruits, nuts and grains that reflect your own personal tastes.  I went to Sprouts where you can find a bounty of bins and barrels full of different types of grains, dried fruits and nuts to choose.  I plan on trying some different combinations this summer but in the meantime, here’s a simple “no bake” granola bar that brings out a little bit of salty and sweetness with some peanut butter to bind them together.


I used a combination of rolled oats, rice cereal and pretzels plus peanut butter, agave nectar, unsalted butter, brown sugar, vanilla and caramel bits.


In a small saucepan over medium low heat, add the butter, brown sugar, agave and peanut butter.  Stir the pot while the butter and sugars melt and combine.


When the mixture just begins to bubble, remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Let the mixture cool for a few minutes.


Pour the mixture into the oats, rice cereal and pretzels and stir until well coated.


Press the mixture into a 8″ x 8″ pan lined with parchment paper.  Use your hands to gently press evenly and firmly.


Sprinkle the caramel bits on top and press into the granola with your fingers.  Place into the refrigerator to cool for 30 minutes to an hour.


Once cooled lift the parchment paper out of the pan and lay on a cutting board.  Cut the granola into bars or squares.  Line a sheet of wax paper between bars or wrap a 2 inch piece of wax paper around each bar to keep the bars from sticking together. I found some corn husks that I soaked in water, then tore into strips to tie and secure around each bar.  Store bars in a plastic zip lock bag.


Sweet and Salty Granola Bars (adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)

1 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
1 1/2 cups Rice Cereal
3/4 cup Pretzels, chopped
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Agave Nectar
1/4 cup Peanut Butter, creamy or crunchy
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 cup Caramel Bits

Prepare an 8″ x 8″ baking pan with parchment paper allowing the paper to line the bottom and sides of pan.  Spray with cooking spray.  Combine the oats, rice cereal and chopped pretzels in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, add the butter, brown sugar, agave nectar and peanut butter.  Melt the butter and stir the pot just until the mixture begins to bubble.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla,  Let cool.

Pour the melted butter and sugar mixture into the bowl of oats, cereal and pretzels and stir until well coated.  Pour the mixture into the lined baking pan and press firmly with your hands.  Sprinkle the caramel bits over top and press into the granola with your fingers.

Place bars in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour to cool.  Lift the parchment paper from the pan and set on a cutting board.  Cut granola into bars or squares.  Separate with wax paper or wrap each bar individually with a 2 inch piece of wax paper and tie with a strip of moistened corn husk.

Makes 12 bars