Cookie Butter Granola Bars
I love hiking. I love being surrounded by trees and dirt. I love ascending a giant mountain (I use the word "giant" loosely) toward the summit. I love the breezy wind and the silence. I wasn't always outdoorsy. It wasn't until around my senior year in high school that I started to go hiking a lot. I loved every minute of it. There's nothing like the Appalachian Mountains, except peanutbutter and chocolate.
One of my favorite mountain past times is having a picnic at the summit. I need a little treat after walking all that way (actually, I just like eating and this gives me a good excuse).
Before I got really into baking I would pack store-bought granola bars and peanut butter sandwiches. Now that I'm a "baking aficionado", I like to make my own treats that don't have all those tasty preservatives (although sometimes I just can't resist high fructose corn syrup and monosodium glutamate...). My homemade treats are so much tastier and I feel like one of those super earthy mountain people. It rocks.
These bars are a spin on the peanut butter pretzel granola bars that I made recently. I used the same formula, but instead created a warm, cinnamon-y cousin to the insanely delicious peanut butter version.
This recipe uses cookie butter (also known as Speculoos or Biscoff Spread). It tastes like the baby of a gingerbread cookie and a graham cracker in a highly addicting, spreadable form. It's the consistency of peanut butter (and it bakes the same too), so I substitute them in a one to one ratio.Everything is thrown into one bowl. It's basically one of the easiest things I've made in my kitchen recently.
I would know.
I've made four batches.
In two and a half weeks. Almonds and dried fruit are thrown into the bowl too! The awesome factor just increased by 10! White chocolate pairs wonderfully with cookie butter. There's something about the warm and spicy cookie butter and the white chocolate that just marry together. They bake up to taste like a graham cracker-granola bar hybrid. They are perfect for a hike. Or a walk. Or as movie theater contraband.
And if you don't feel like actually hiking, you could always put on your hiking clothes, grab a granola bar and watch youtube videos of people hiking. It's basically the same thing
What's your favorite hiking snack?
Makes one 9 x 13 pan
- 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/3 cup oat bran (wheat bran should work too)
- 1 cup puffed rice cereal
- 1 cup cinnamon cereal (like Cinnamon Cheerios or Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon Oat Cereal)
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup chopped raw almonds and dried fruit (I used an almond and dried fruit trail mix, but plain almonds will work fine)
- 2/3 cup cookie butter (or peanut butter if you can't find it)
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon honey (or agave)
- 2/3 cup white chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats, oat bran, rice cereal, cinnamon cereal, flaxseed meal, brown sugar, whole wheat flour, and almonds with dried fruit. Add cookie butter, stirring until combined until a “dough” forms, 3 to 5 minutes. Combine the melted butter and vanilla and then add it to the peanut butter mixture, stirring until mixed throughout. Add the honey and mix until “dough” is completely moistened. Fold in white chocolate chips.
3. Line a 9 x 13 pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Press the mixture into the pan until even. Bake for 18-23 minutes (the first time I overcooked them with 25 minutes, 18 worked best for me), or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Pull bars out with the aluminum foil edge and cut into desired size (may be slightly crumbly). Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.