This Sunday, I decided to head back to the healthier side of sweet with Peanut Butter Granola Balls from the April 2007 issue of Everyday Food. I was drawn to this recipe because I have an unfortunate addiction to Quaker Peanut Butter Granola Bites (soooo good!) and I wanted to see if the texture would be similar. Plus, I actually had every ingredient on hand, which made it a nice “pantry project.”
In a small saucepan over medium heat, I warmed 1/3 cup of honey, 1/4 cup of peanut butter (the recipe specified “natural” peanut butter, but I just used Jif), and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. I stirred the mixture until it was loosened and smooth (2 minutes). I removed it from the heat and stirred in 1 cup of Rice Krispies, 1 cup of rolled oats, and 1/4 cup of dried cherries. (Any dried fruit is fine.)
Using a rounded tablespoon, I dropped spoonfuls of the mixture into 24 mini muffin liners. I put the liners on a baking sheet and refrigerated the balls until set (15 minutes). Once they were set, I transferred them to an airtight container and stored them in the refrigerator. (They’ll last up to 1 week, if we don’t eat them all first!)
These didn’t turn out much like the Quaker Granola Bites, but they’re a terrific bite-sized snack. The texture is soft and chewy and the Rice Krispies provide a slight crunch. They have a strong peanut butter fragrance, though I’d say honey is the dominant flavor. The sweetness from the dried fruit cuts through everything nicely.
I was worried that these would set up hard – kind of like those original Nature Valley granola bars, which are perfect if you want to break a tooth and cover yourself in crumbs – but it didn’t happen. They’re as soft as Rice Krispie treats, if not softer. The mixture is a bit loose when it’s warm, so the mini muffin liners are essential for helping the balls hold their shape. Plus, the cute factor is pretty hard to resist!
TIPS: Cut the butter into 4 cubes so it melts faster in the saucepan. Also, be sure to use old-fashioned rolled oats, not quick oats.
Recipe link: Peanut Butter Granola Balls