This recipe is one of my favorites. It is an extremely versatile, base recipe that can be customized anyway you would like. My only issue with it is that the bites turn out so good, my husband and I eat them all faster than I can make them!
This is recipe makes approximately 3-dozen quarter-sized bites.
3-cups old fashioned oats
1-cup peanut butter
Protein powder (1 scoop, about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1-cup shaved coconut (for rolling)
1. If desired, you can lightly toast your oats before hand. I tried both toasted and un-toasted and honestly couldn’t tell the difference, so I just skip this step now. However it is very, very important to make sure you are using old fashioned oats, and NOT quick oats. Quick oats will not stand up to the addition of the wet ingredients, and you’ll end up with mush. No one wants mush.
2. Add honey, peanut butter and chocolate chips to a bowl, mix well. I have found that heating them gently in a double boiler helps them blend together better, they mix easier with the oats, and the chocolate melts and helps hold the bites together. The chocolate is completely optional, but again, it’s a nice, firm binding agent here.
3. Add oats, protein powder raisins and cranberries to wet ingredients. You can add any additives you want, but it really should not be more than three items of a 1/4 cup each. Otherwise the mixture becomes to dry and doesn’t hold together well. However any dried fruits or nuts that you enjoy will work just fine in this recipe.
The protein powder is also optional.
4. FOR BALLS: Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before rolling. If they are too warm, they won’t hold shape and your hands just become a gloopy mess. You’ll know it’s cool enough when you can roll them with little mess left behind on your hands, and they hold their round shape. Roll into quarter-sized balls, and roll in shaved coconut to finish. Again, the coconut is optional. I have also rolled them in crushed, salted peanuts, crushed pretzels, or simply lightly sprinkled with a nice sea salt. It’s your choice!
5. FOR BARS OR SQUARES: Sometimes I just want to be done, and don’t have the interest to roll the mixture into balls. In the instances, I put a sheet of parchment paper down on a baking tray, and dump out the mixture. You want to flatten the mixture out, and really work the mixture out into a flat, tight brick. I like to fold the parchment back over and pound the oat mix out with my fist or the spatula. This helps to get a nice edge too, if the mixture doesn’t fill your baking tray (one batch fills about half of a baking tray).
5a. Once you’re satisfied with the mix, put the entire tray in your freezer for a half hour. If you forget about it and it goes longer (which usually happens for me), it’ll be fine. Just make sure you don’t leave it for days and days, etc., when freezer burn start to happen. But a few hours won’t hurt it.
5b. Once it’s frozen and quite firm, remove and place on a cutting board. Allow to thaw for a few minutes, or until you can cut through the mixture easily. Then cut into granola bar-sized rectangles, or 1″ snack bites!