No bake trail mix peanut butter granola bars

I ran for the bus every single day that I worked in a corporate office. I'd scuffle down the block in my heels, hot coffee in one hand and a grab-and-go breakfast like these Trail Mix Peanut Butter Granola Bars in the other, silently praying that the bus was behind schedule. This was my Monday through Friday for four straight years.

Chewy Trail Mix Peanut Butter Granola Bars with chocolate chips, oatmeal, and honey. Sweet, salty, and NO BAKE! Simple recipe that's perfect for healthy breakfasts and healthy snacks. {gluten free, dairy free, vegan, high protein} Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

You would think that after one year of stressed-out suit sprinting that I would have learned to leave the house earlier, let alone after four years, but it never happened. No matter how early I woke up, I always left the house at the same time: exactly three minutes before Bus #6 passed my stop.

Five minutes would have afforded me a leisurely stroll, but noooooo. I apparently lived for the adrenaline of running in a pencil skirt. If you haven't worn one lately, imagine jogging with your thighs strapped together with a thick rubber band. Then make that rubber band dry clean only and not at all stretchy. It's like that, only worse.

What did I learn instead? To store my heels in a box underneath my desk, instead of wearing them in (easier to run in flats) and to make sure I always had a stash of no-bake peanut butter granola bars at the ready. I might be late, but at least I wouldn't be hungry.

If you find yourself rushing in the morning, struggle to find time for a healthy breakfast or snacks, have picky eaters to feed, or a bus of your own to catch, these no-bake Trail Mix Peanut Butter Granola Bars are an ideal recipe for you. They take only a few minutes to stir together, are made from simple ingredients, and can last for weeks, so you'll always have them at the ready. Plus, they are super yummy, filling, and healthy too!

The base of these peanut butter granola bars is the trifecta of peanut butter, oatmeal, and honey. It's classic, delicious, and universal. I'm betting you have all three in your pantry right now, just waiting be transformed into these soft, chewy peanut butter granola bars. The combination of the chocolate chips with the fruit and nuts reminded me of my favorite camping trail mix. It's salty, sweet, and irresistible.

One of my favorite things about these Trail Mix Peanut Butter Granola Bars is that they stay soft and chewy for as long as you can keep yourself from eating them (ours never hardened). They also have a long shelf life. You can store them in your refrigerator for a few weeks or freeze them for several months.

I tested a few different versions of these Trail Mix Peanut Butter Granola Bars, each with varying amounts of peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil. All were duly devoured, but today's recipe is my favorite. It has just the right amount of sweetness, and the coconut oil helps the bars hold their shape.

You can certainly swap the coconut oil for extra peanut butter, and feel free to change out the nuts and fruits for any flavors you love or have on hand. Unlike Bus #6's departure time, this peanut butter granola bar recipe is very flexible and forgiving!

Tools I used to make this recipe:
8×8 baking pan
Parchment paper (I love these pre-cut sheets)

​​​​​​Trail Mix Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Chewy Trail Mix Peanut Butter Granola Bars with oatmeal, chocolate chips, and honey. Easy no-bake recipe that's perfect for healthy breakfasts and snacks.

YIELD: 12 bars
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 0 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter*
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats (gluten free if needed)
3/4 cup crispy rice or other puffed grain cereal, whole grain if possible (I used this one)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit (I used 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup reduced-sugar dried cranberries)
1/3 cup mixed nuts and/or seeds (I used a mix of toasted pumpkin seeds and almonds)
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (dairy free if needed)

Ingredients:
​​​​​​-​Line an 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on two of the sides like handles. Generously coat the foil or paper with baking spray. Set aside.
-In a microwave-safe bowl or a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the honey, peanut butter, and coconut oil. Melt gently and stir until smooth and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool for 5 minutes.
-In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, cereal, flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt, then stir in the dried fruit, nuts/seeds, and chocolate chips. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the top, then stir until the ingredients are evenly moistened.
-Scoop the mixture into the prepared baking pan, then with a spatula or your fingers, press into an even layer. If the mixture is too sticky, lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the top, then press on its surface. Place the bars in the refrigerator to set, at least 2 hours or overnight. Once fully chilled, remove the bars from the pan with the foil or paper "handles," then, using a very sharp knife, slice into bars. Enjoy immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer for later!

Thanks for reading Trail Mix Peanut Butter Granola Bars {No Bake!} on Well Plated by Erin!

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