Chewy Granola Bars

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At the Saratoga Peanut Butter Company table at the market in High Rock Park last Saturday, there were lots of families gathered around, sampling different flavors. It is a fun spot for anyone planning new menu items for hearty back-to-school breakfasts or lunchbox options.

As the company’s slogan aptly says, “We started at nuts. And then went crazy!” Adults and kids alike had big smiles as they tasted the different kinds of nut butters, served up on small pretzel sticks.

Some of the creative flavors on Saratoga Peanut Butter’s table include New York Maple (peanut butter with honey, maple syrup, and vanilla); the best-selling Adirondack Jack (a blend of almond and peanut butters, with plump cranberries, flax seeds, cinnamon, honey, and sunflower seeds); Monkey Boy (peanut butter, juicy raisins, and the essence of banana); and Trifecta (a dark chocolate almond butter with dried sour cherries).

For purists, “Plain Jane” peanut butter and “Almighty” almond butter are available, made just with nuts and a small amount of salt. For those preferring organic foods, Saratoga Peanut Butter Co. sells organic peanut and almond butters, in addition to conventional varieties.

The company makes its nut butters in small batches, and does not add palm oil, trans fat, preservatives, or any added sugars. All products are gluten- and GMO-free.

From its origins in 2005, owner Jessica Arceri has grown her company significantly, so that it now includes distribution not only at local farmers’ markets and festivals but also in large retail outlets throughout the Northeast.

Along the way, Saratoga Peanut Butter Co. has garnered publicity from well-known celebrities and national media, including Rachel Ray’s magazine, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, and Oprah Winfrey’s “O” magazine and her blog.

Saratoga Peanut Butter Company (www.yopeanut.com) sells at Saratoga Farmers’ Market on both Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The nut butters are delicious spread on bread or slices of fruit, and can also be used to flavor smoothies, entrée dishes, and in a variety of baking treats, such as this easy back-to-school granola bar recipe.

 

Quick and Easy Chewy Granola Bars

Ingredients

2 cups quick oats

1 3/4 cups crispy rice cereal

1 cup Saratoga Peanut Butter’s “Adirondack Jack”

1/2 cup honey, agave or brown rice syrup

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ tsp salt

 

Directions

Line an 9 by 12-inch baking dish with foil or parchment paper leaving a 2-inch overhang.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together oats and cereal, set aside.

In a small sauce pan, combine peanut butter, honey, brown sugar and salt. Heat mixture on medium power, stirring frequently until melted and combined.

Pour peanut butter mixture over oat mixture and toss well to evenly coat.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish, very firmly press mixture into an even layer.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator 30 minutes.

Lift bars from dish using foil overhang and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.