Monster Cookie Granola Bars

by Jillian

Soft no-bake granola bars packed with peanut butter, chewy oats, chocolate chips, M&Ms, and drizzled with melted peanut butter chips! 

Monster Cookie Granola Bars | A baJillian Recipes

This week’s recipe is brought to you by the number 99. As in, 99 flippin’ degrees out here in Portland! That means it’s WAY too hot to even THINK of turning the oven on when you live in a house with no AC.

So, being the super smart plan ahead-er that I am, I decided a no-bake recipe was the only way to go this week. And since it’s officially the start of camping season, the timing could not have been better to reveal these No-bake Monster Cookie Granola Bars.

Monster Cookie Granola Bars | A baJillian Recipes

Look how cute and colorful they are with the mini M&Ms! 

Monster Cookie Granola Bars | A baJillian Recipes

What is it about mini M&Ms that makes them SO much better than the larger plain M&Ms?? I have no problem turning down regular M&Ms, but I’d down a shot glass (or 5) of these mini M&Ms in one swig. 

Monster Cookie Granola Bars | A baJillian Recipes

Just like traditional monster cookies, these granola bars are packed with so much peanut butter and chewy oats. And not only is there peanut butter mixed into the bars, but I added an extra drizzle of melted peanut butter chips on top. The bars just didn’t seem complete without it. Plus, how could ANYone go wrong with MORE peanut butter??

Monster Cookie Granola Bars | A baJillian Recipes

Back to the mini M&Ms. Since I decided not to mix them in (they deserve to be seen!), I came up with a little technique to secure them into the oat mixture instead of pressing them in after already pressing the oat mixture in. I was afraid that the heat from the oats would melt the M&Ms, causing them to be totally cracked and smushed by the time I was done pressing them into firm bars. Along with ugly messy bars, I’d also have chocolate all over my hands! Not necessarily a bad thing, but…

Monster Cookie Granola Bars | A baJillian Recipes

Instead, I ended up dumping the oat mixture into the pan, then spreading it out evenly with a rubber spatula without pressing anything down. Then I sprinkled the mini M&Ms evenly over the oats so that they would fall into all the little crevices. I then used my hands to quickly and gently press the mixture down into an even layer. Mind you, this is the first press, so you don’t have to press down as hard. Then I sprinkled the mini chocolate chips (yay for more minis!) on top, and quickly pressed everything in for a final time. I did the chocolate chips last since they melt a lot more easily. Plus, they’re easier to press into the bars without them coming loose and rolling around on the surface like the M&Ms.

Of course, this technique of mine is probably worthless in the end since the peanut butter chip drizzle will cover up any flaws that might’ve occurred in the process.

Oh well…I thought I was clever!

Monster Cookie Granola Bars | A baJillian Recipes

These granola bars are soft, thick, chewy, and perfectly peanut buttery…just like I like my monster cookies. While some granola bars can be a real jaw workout, these have more of a light crispiness and soft chewiness to them thanks to the addition of rice cereal. So much lighter in texture, which I love! They remind me so much of those kudos bars…do they still even make those anymore??

Monster Cookie Granola Bars | A baJillian Recipes

Just wrap these bars up, throw them in your backpack, and you’re ready to take a brisk hike on over to your comfy couch. Because granola bars aren’t just for camping and hiking.

Monster Cookie Granola Bars | A baJillian Recipes

No-Bake Monster Cookie Granola Bars

Soft no-bake granola bars packed with peanut butter, chewy oats, chocolate chips, M&Ms, and drizzled with melted peanut butter chips!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Refrigeration Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Bars

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 ⅓ cups crisp rice cereal
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • cup corn syrup
  • cup peanut butter
  • 3 Tablespoons mini M&Ms
  • 2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 teaspoon shortening

Instructions
 

  • Line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper. Pour oats and cereal into a large bowl; set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and peanut butter. Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add the dry ingredients to the pan and stir until combined.
  • Pour mixture into lined pan and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to even out the layer before pressing down. Immediately sprinkle the mini M&Ms evenly over the entire surface. Working quickly (mixture will begin to soften and melt M&Ms), use your hands to press mixture down gently to secure M&Ms into place. Then sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the granola bars, pressing down more firmly and quickly since chocolate chips will begin to melt once they hit the bars. Allow bars to cool completely*.
  • Remove oat mixture from pan and cut into 12 bars. Melt the peanut butter chips and shortening together in the microwave until smooth. Use a spoon to drizzle over the bars and place in the refrigerator until peanut butter drizzle has set, about 10 minutes. Wrap bars individually in plastic wrap, or store them in an airtight container at room temperature.

Notes

*Cooling can be sped up by refrigerating bars for 30 minutes.
*To freeze: Put individually wrapped bars in a freezer-safe ziploc bag and chill in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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