In college, I used to live off of energy bars. For someone with a busy schedule, they’re the perfect thing to tide you over until your next meal. Cheap, pocket-sized, and *vaguely* healthy. They did the trick, but they always lacked something for me. They were either too crunchy & crumbly or too chewy & sweet.
Growing up, our grandmothers (and even some of our aunts) would sometimes make their own energy bars at home. It was one of those snacks that went fast in our family; you had to make sure to grab one while you still could.
While sorting through some old recipes from my Nana Nitahara (my mom’s mom), I found her version of an energy bar recipe. Reading through it, I realized it sounded very familiar. So, I got out my Grandma Linda’s (my dad’s mom) recipe book, which was featured in my first post, and realized… it’s basically the exact same recipe! And I get why: if it ain’t broken (and it tastes amazing) then why fix it?
These are like one part Rice Krispy treat, one part granola bar, but an improvement on both in my opinion. As you make them, you’ll realize that they’re not very healthy, like at all (remember: *vaguely*). But they taste so good that you can kind of convince yourself that they are.
And they’re easy! I mean, the recipe literally fits on one index card. The best thing about them is that you can change/add things depending on what you like or what you have around the house. For example, the recipe calls for peanuts and raisins, but I didn’t have either and I don’t love raisins. I ended up subbing them for cashews and dried blueberries, which I ended up preferring!
Some other adjustments:
- Peanut Butter – I used crunchy peanut butter because I feel like it adds more texture. It’s also great if you’re using nuts that aren’t specifically peanuts.
- Chia Seeds – I added chia seeds because, again: texture! Also, I had them on hand and they’re nutrient and antioxidant rich.
- Marshmallows – I actually used homemade marshmallows, which I liked, mostly because it melted quicker and got suuuuper sticky. But store-bought marshmallows work just fine.
Don’t worry too much about exact measurements either. As long as you don’t have too many wet ingredients vs. dry ingredients and vice versa, you should be great! I actually eyeballed the amount of marshmallows, dried fruit, and chia seeds.
I loved the way these turned out, but as I said before, there are so many ways to change this recipe dependent on personal tastes. Play around with it! These also make great gifts, just wrap them up in some wax paper and you’re good to go!
Best Ever Energy Bars
- 2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
- 2 cups instant oats
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
- 1 pkg marshmallow (10 1/2 oz.)
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup peanuts (or any unsalted nut)
- 1 cup raisins (or any dried fruit)
- 1/4 cup chia seeds (optional)
- sesame seeds
- Mix the rice krispies and instant oats, then spread them onto a baking sheet. Heat in oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes.
- In a medium to large bowl, mix the raisins, unsalted nuts, and chia seeds (if you're using them) together. Once out of the oven, add the rice krispies and oats.
- In a large saucepan, combine the butter, marshmallows, and peanut butter. Melt together over low heat.
- Working quickly, mix the dry ingredients into the marshmallow mixture. Make sure everything is well dispersed.
- Pour mixture into a 9x13inch pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Wet hands or use a spatula to flatten evenly. Cut while still warm, into approx. 2x3inch rectangles (or whatever size you prefer).
- Wrap in wax paper or store in an airtight container. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.