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Recipe: Crispy Rice Granola Bars

Crispy Rice Granola Bars
Photo: Maria Zizka 

Crispy Rice Granola Bars

These homemade snack bars are a cross between a Rice Krispies treat and a granola bar. They're held together with honey, peanut butter, and a tiny bit of molasses. I love the combination of pistachios and apricots, though you could certainly use your favorite nut and dried fruit. Do feel free to swap out peanut butter and replace it with any kind of nut butter.

This recipe is a quick one, but it does have one extra step that most other granola bar recipes don't have. In the time it takes to measure the peanut butter and honey and get the two stirred together, toast the nuts and oats in the oven until they're nicely browned and fragrant. The resulting flavor, deep and warm, is well worth the effort.

Makes 16 (2-inch) squares

1 cup rolled oats
½ cup shelled pistachios, chopped
¾ cup sliced almonds
½ cup unsalted peanut butter
½ cup honey
1 teaspoon molasses
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup puffed rice cereal
10 dried apricots (about ½ cup), chopped

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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square (or equivalent) dish with parchment paper.

Spread the oats, pistachios, and almonds evenly across a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the nuts are well toasted.

Meanwhile, combine the peanut butter, honey, molasses, and salt in a large pot. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it bubbles, and stir to break up any clumps of peanut butter.

Turn off the heat and stir the toasted oats and nuts into the peanut butter mixture. Add the puffed rice and apricots, and stir well. Transfer to the prepared dish, spreading the granola bar mixture as evenly as possibly. Use the bottom of a sturdy glass to press down on the bars and pack them into the dish. Cover and let cool for about 1 hour in the refrigerator before serving.

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