SNOW. I may have had to dream of a white Christmas, but I’m happy to say I won’t be suffering though a snowless January. A snowstorm moved through quietly this week, leaving the Midwest in a momentary standstill as the plows fueled up. A few cold-blooded souls grumbled as they slid deeper into their Snuggies (ok, probably more than a few souls), but the rest of us strapped in, buttoned up and en-scarved ourselves as we bounded outdoors. PLAYTIME.
Snowy activities may include but aren’t limited to: skiing, skating, snowball fights, or a sled ride down the infamous local Hill of Death (plural rides if you’re lucky).
Needless to say, all this activity burns some serious calories. That’s where the jazzed-up granola bars come in. Jazz, you say? Are we talking trumpets and saxophones? Ella and Duke? If you listen closely enough, you might pick up some Coltrane in the snap, crackle, pop of the crisped rice cereal in these bars, but the real jazz comes in here:
This locally-made peanut butter packs a seriously spicy punch. It makes for an adventurous slathered slice of toast, but is perhaps best used as a mix-in, like in this recipe. These bars would also be great with regular peanut butter, or in the summer.
Jazzed-Up Granola Bars recipe
½ cup raw honey
½ cup Asian Jazz Yumbutter (or any peanut butter)
2 tablespoons Wisconsin maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups organic rolled oats
2 cups crisp brown rice cereal
¼ cup ground flax seeds
½ cup chopped roasted sunflower seeds*
½ cup chopped dried apricots*
½ cups chopped dried cranberries*
½ teaspoon sea salt
*Jazz up as you see fit with different combinations of dried fruits and nuts
Grease a 9×13 inch dish and set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine honey, peanut butter, maple syrup, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir and cook until mixture just begins to bubble, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. In a large bowl, combine oats, rice cereal, ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, apricots, cranberries and salt. Pour peanut butter mixture over oatmeal mixture and stir gently with a spatula until well combined. Transfer to baking dish, cover with parchment paper and press firmly into dish. Allow to cool completely, then cut into bars, squares, or any other geometric figure.