What a week.
Three deadlines, a prom tux to procure (um, not for me), graduation festivities to prep for and gifts to buy, college orientation to schedule, a book proposal that needs writing and my first training week out of “recovery jail” from the Boston marathon.
Oh, and a strange-but-amazing little thing that brings joy to my heart: blogging.
Are you suffering from Headless Chicken Syndrome (HCS), too? I feel you.
Though I can’t slow down your day or diminish your to-do list, I may be able to ease your pain with a little help from dark chocolate and peanut butter.
Oh yes, I’m very serious.
One glance above and you’re likely tilting your head, raising your eyebrows and proclaiming these blondies.
Not so, my friend – although my recipe purposely gives a generous nod in the blondie direction – and it runs far from Nature Valley. (No offense to those granola bars!) Flaxseed and oats amp up the healthy aspect granola bars are supposed to be known for with fiber and Omega 3s, and natural peanut butter and a bit of honey instead of an entire cup of the white stuff helps to bring down sugar content, all without a single taste sacrifice on your part. And if you don’t know the virtues of dark chocolate by now, well…
I keep Road Warriors on hand in the freezer for local on-the-go days, and these babies really shine on a vacation road trip or a day of air travel for work (or pleasure), and have recently helped me avoid unhealthy, bland and very expensive airport and gas station fare on the way to New York City, Florida and Boston so far this spring.
They’ve always got my back, and consumed responsibly (they are severely nomlicious, I must say) they’ll make you a happy camper with a few – or an entire gallon Ziploc if the family is along – stashed in your purse or bag on those HCS days.
Note: below is a single recipe, but I almost always double it and use the same size 1/4 sheet pan – it just makes for a thicker bar (and a happier me). I always slice, individually wrap and store in a gallon Ziploc for personal use, and keep them whole in-pan if freezing ahead and taking to a party – just thaw, slice and go.
Road Warrior Granola Bars
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 TBSP honey
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup quick oats
Preheat oven to 350°
Lightly grease a 1/4 sheet baking pan or similar sized pan (metal works best in my oven; glass dishes tend to overly brown edges)
In a stand mixer or large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Beat in honey, vanilla, peanut butter and egg.
In a medium bowl, combine flour through salt, gradually add to the creamed mixture, beat well.
Stir in oats and chocolate chips. Press into a 1/4 sheet metal baking sheet or jelly roll pan.
Bake 22-25 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Cool completely before slicing into bars. (Note: you can be frozen either uncut in pan wrapped in plastic or cut into bars, individually wrapped and stored in a Ziploc bag, each for up to a month.)