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Oh my summer foods: Pennies and Pancakes: Granola Bars

My kids and I make these all the time.  They are great for lunch boxes, camping, car-rides, or just plain snacks.  I feel good about the recipe, the sugar level, and the cost!  I will admit, that we add mini m&m's and/or mini reece's peices.  So, they aren't quite so healthy when we make them- but I try not to factor that in, since the are SO yummy.  Of course we love Pennies and Pancakes we are pretty sure you've seen this over on pinterest, but as much as I use the recipe, I wanted it to be here on our blog as well.  So, with out further ado, the amazing Andrea from Pennies and Pancakes with her incredible edible granola bars.

$0.11 each          50% savings          save $61.70 yearly

"If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." 

Now THAT is some sound advice. We live in uncertain times with a troubled economy, and it can be easy to worry about what the future holds.

That uncertainty is a big reason my family has an extra storage of food supplies at home.

Stocking up months worth of basic food items might sound strange/fanatical to some, but it gives me peace of mind to know that if something bad ever happened and if, for whatever reason, it became difficult to obtain food, we'd be okay... or if we lost our income... or, if something happened to our friends or neighbors we'd be able to help them out. Everything we store is food that I use anyway, and when I use some of my food storage, I can simply buy a little more to replace what I used.

We store things like wheat (that I grind into flour at home), oats, dried beans, dried pasta, jarred pasta sauce, peanut butter, boxed cereal, canned fruits/veggies, extra baking supplies, etc. 

The other day I was looking for new ways to use oats (besides cookies, oatmeal, and breads). I stumbled on an easy no-bake granola bar recipe from Rachel Ray that I adapted to meet my needs... okay, honestly I changed her recipe A LOT. I wanted to only use ingredients that I consistently have in my food storage supply, but her recipe was the take-off point for the recipe I'm going to share with you.

So, why make your own when there are already a ton of granola bars on the market covered in sweet chocolate and filled with gooey caramel or peanut butter?

Well, because those bars are more like candy bars. In fact, there really aren't many truly healthy granola bars sitting on the store shelves right now. And the ones that are good for you cost an arm and a leg... and maybe an ear thrown in for good measure. But if you're looking for a yummy candy bar, then by all means, buy the candy covered/filled "granola" bars!

These "food storage" granola bars are quite healthy overall, with a sweet, nutty flavor, and are VERY inexpensive compared to their store-bought competitors. My three-year old downed 3 of them immediately after I made them. If that's not a kid-friendly seal of approval, I don't know what is!

"Food Storage" Granola Bars (No-Bake)
Printable Version

*Makes 28 bars

1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar 
1/4 cup peanut butter (crunchy)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 cups Quick Oats (not rolled oats)
2 cups crispy rice cereal
3 teaspoons vanilla

In a large bowl, stir crispy rice cereal, quick oats together.

In a medium saucepan, combine honey, butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then bring the temperature down to low, and simmer till sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Pour in vanilla and stir.

Pour the hot mixture over dry ingredients. Stir until all ingredients are moistened. Press into a parchment-lined jelly roll pan.

Pack the granola bar mixture as closely and as tightly together as you possibly can into one end of the pan at about 1/2-3/4 inch thickness.Any thinner, and the bars will not hold together. Let cool on the counter till they reach room temperature.

Cut into bars (I did 4 X 7). Wrap in plastic or store in a ziplock bag.

*You may add chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, coconut, etc. if desired. If adding chocolate chip, press them into the top of the bars after you've packed the very warm granola mixture into the pan. Otherwise, you'll end up with a melted chocolate-swirled mess.

**My family loves this recipe as is, but if you find they don't hold their form as well as you'd like, you can store them in the refrigerator. 

~ Savings ~

*Updated on 1/8/13 from $0.08 ea. to $0.11 ea.

Cost Breakdown:
16 oz. clover honey - $3.78 = 22 T = $0.172/T = $1.376
7 lb brown sugar - $5.05 = 264 T = $0.019/T = $0.114
40 oz. crunchy peanut butter - $5.24 = 70 T = $0.075/T = $0.299
4 lb unsalted butter - $7.99 = 128 T = $0.0625/T = $0.250
42 oz. quick oats - $3.18 = 15 C = $0.212/C = $0.848
36 oz. crispy rice cereal - $4.88 = 37.5 C = $0.130/C = $0.260
8 fl. oz. imitation vanilla - $0.98 = 48 tsp = $0.0204/tsp = $0.061
Total Recipe Cost: $3.21
Per Granola bar: $0.11
The Contender:
Nature Valley Oats and Honey Granola Bars (12 pk.) = $2.68
Per Granola Bar: $0.22
Savings: 50%

"Over a year" scenario:
Make "Food Storage" Granola Bars recipe 15 times = $47.55
Buy equivalent Nature Valley Oats and Honey Granola Bars = $93.80

*Money Saved: $46.25


  1. Looks yummy!! We really MUST make these for my family!! Thank you for sharing.

  2. I love this recipe and the first time I made it the bars stuck together perfectly. However the second and third time they have been completely crumbly! Do you have any ideas on what I'm doing wrong or what I could do to fix it? The only thing I did different(that I can recall) was use a cheaper peanut butter the second time. The third time I went back to the regular JIF peanut butter but it still didn't work. :(


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