Washington, DC - The Let's Move! campaign has offered recipes from the White House chefs for ChopChop magazine's The Big Picnic, a nationwide celebration of healthy family cooking scheduled for this Sunday, Sept. 22 (more details here). Even the youngest kids can help make the recipe for White House Peanut Butter Granola Bars created by Assistant Pastry Chef Margi Fineran; it's a no-cook treat.
The dense, textured bars are sweet and soft, but have a big crunch thanks to the use of puffed grains, old fashioned oats, chocolate chips, coconut, raisins, and an array of seeds including pumpkin, flax, and sunflower. Almond butter can be swapped for the peanut butter, said Fineran (l), as can any dense nut butter of your choice.
The ingredients are mixed by hand (or spoon) in a bowl, then spread on a cookie sheet or shallow baking pan, and put in the refrigerator or freezer to chill. Fineran offers a tip to make things easy:
"This is a no-bake granola bar, but I have found that it is easy to blend it together if the oatmeal has been toasted and it’s still a little warm," Fineran said.
Pop a cookie sheet with the oatmeal into a 300 degree oven and cook for about five minutes. The pumpkin and sunflower seeds and the coconut are also toasted; these can be done the same way, before the oatmeal.
The recipe calls for a 12 x 18 sheet pan, but a 9 x 14 x 2 pan can be used for a thicker bar. Rub the bottom with a light coating of canola oil or spray before putting in the mixture. After chilling, cut into chunks; the number of portions servings depend on portion size.
White House Peanut Butter Granola Bars
*2 Cups Puffed Rice
*2 1/2 Cups Puffed Millet (Puffed Barley can be swapped)
*4 1/2 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
*1 Cup Raisins
*3/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds, toasted
*3/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds, toasted
*1/2 Cup Flax Seeds
*3/4 Cup Unsweetened Coconut, toasted
*1 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
*3/4 Cup Honey
*3/4 Cup Maple Syrup
*3 Cups (24 oz) Natural Peanut Butter
1. Put all the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well to coat everything in peanut butter.
2. Prepare a sheet pan 12x18in by lightly brushing it with canola oil. Spread the well mixed ingredients into the prepared pan and smooth evenly with a spatula.
3. It’s a stiff mixture, to really push it together, cover with parchment or wax paper and roll it into place with a rolling pin (your hands will work fine, too).
4. Chill for three hours or freeze for two hours before cutting into squares or rectangles. If freezing, allow to thaw for half an hour before cutting.
*Serving size depends on portion size.
ChopChop's The Big Picnic event is fun with a serious purpose: The magazine is devoted to combating obesity by encouraging kids and their families to cook at home. White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford and Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses have also provided recipes, as have other chefs: Check out ChopChop's dedicated webpages for more recipes and info.
*Photos and food styling by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama