We eat a lot of peanut butter in this house. Natural peanut butter not only tastes great but is also a great source of protein. In my quest for yummy and healthy snacks to pack in lunch boxes and to take on car rides I came up with this delicious snack bar.
PB&J Snack Bars
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup natural-style chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
2 large eggs
1/4 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or almonds)
1/2 cup all natural Raspberry or Strawberry fruit spread
1/4 Wheat germ (optional)
1/2 cup puffed rice (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
Mix the flour,flax seed, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix the peanut butter and honey using a stand mixer or large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, applesauce, and vanilla to the peanut butter mixture and mix until well blended and smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix until well incorporated. Mix in oats, dried cranberries, and nuts. Scrape batter into the prepared baking dish.
To spread the mixture evenly in the pan either use a piece of plastic wrap to spread the batter or wet both hands and press mixture using wet bare hands. Using a spatula spread natural fruit spread in an even layer over bar mixture. Sprinkle optional wheat germ and puffed rice over top of fruit spread layer.
Bake the bars 22- 26 minutes or until firm to the touch. Place pan on wire rack to cool. Be sure to cool bars completely in the pan on a rack before cutting into bars.
Makes 24 bars. Bars freeze well.
*I package a weeks worth of bars into separate food containers and freeze. Each week we pull a container out of the freezer to use pack in lunches or throw in my purse for outings with the toddler.
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