Just like past meals I still reminisce about, I have a collection of snacks that have taken firm hold of my memories. About a million years ago (aka the early 2000’s), I participated in the Northeast AIDS ride. It was a 4 day bike ride from New York to Boston, in support of research to find a cure for HIV and AIDS. My friend and I spent a very long summer training for this 350 mile bike ride. In the beginning, we were novices, worried about helmet hair and self conscious about our outfits. By the end, we were hanging out in padded spandex shorts, super-tight sweat-wicking shirts, salty with sweaty, and sticky with gatorade.
The actual event itself was extremely well coordinated, and I so clearly remember all of the (very wonderful) refreshment stops along the way. You could re-up on your power drinks and pick up a snack. At those stops, one of the frequent snacks they had was peanut butter and jelly on graham crackers. I remember the unbelievable revelation of this snack – salty, sweet, crisp, creamy. It was *so* delicious and perfect when I was hungry and sweaty. Plus, it was nice and filling without being too heavy.
This month on S&S we’re focusing on snacks that you can take in to the great outdoors. As it gets warmer, we want to be outside, moving around and being healthy. While we’re at it, we’ll bring along some snacks that will help us along in our good intentions. So, inspired by those graham crackers of days past, I created these PB&J granola bars that are portable and snack-able for hiking, walking, or as a tasty post-workout bite to eat.
1/3 cup graham flour (from about 3 finely ground graham crackers)
1 cup dried fruit, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup jam
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 glass baking dish with parchment paper (allowing it to go up the sides), then spray with cooking spray.
Spread the oat on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring at 5 minutes to ensure an even toasting. Remove from the oven and place in a large mixing bowl. Add in the other dry ingredients – graham flour, fruit, salt and cinnamon – and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, stir together the jam, peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Once it’s all melted continue to cook for about 3 minutes – stirring constantly – until the mixture has thickened slightly.
Pour in to the dry ingredients and stir together until thoroughly mixed.
Transfer to the baking dish and press down firmly, until the mixture is in an even and compact layer. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until slightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, then remove (via the parchment paper) and place on a cooking rack to cool completely. Once completely cooled, cut in to bars using a sharp knife.
Strudel and Streusel are two friends living in different cities, sharing a love of baking (and butter) through this blog. With Streusel in Denver, and Strudel in Seattle, we've found our little site to be a great way to stay in touch, share recipes we love, and talk about experiences in our respective cities.