Chirpy Peanut Butter Granola Bars!

While there are some pretty awesomely delicious protein bars out there, yes, made with crickets (check out Exo–Cricket Flour Protein Bars and Chapul–The Original Cricket Energy Bar), it’s so much easier (and less expensive) to make your own! It’s nice to have protein-packed snacks to grab when you’re on the go and these will definitely sate your appetite. An added plus: they are insanely easy to make and taste great! Yusss!

Ingredients:
2 c. Oats
1/2 c. Pecans
1/2 c. Crickets
1 c. Dried Fruit of Your Choice
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 c. Honey
1/4 c. Brown Sugar (tightly packed)
3 tbsp. Peanut Butter
2 tbsp. Butter

To start, rinse crickets in a colander with cold water and pat dry. (Note: before you even think about rinsing the crickets, make sure they have been refrigerated or frozen. If you don’t do this, I guarantee that you’ll be in for a super fun surprise. I hope you were able to sense my sarcasm.) Heat oven to 350⁰F. Then put the oats, crickets, and pecans on a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes. 



About fifteen minutes into toasting the above ingredients, combine the salt, vanilla extract, honey, brown sugar, peanut butter and butter into a pan on medium heat and stir. Cook until the brown sugar has dissolved.



Next, you’ll want to take the oats, crickets, and pecans out of the oven and put them into a mixing bowl. Turn the oven down to 300⁰F as well. Now would be a good time to throw the cup of dried fruit into the bowl–I used a combination of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and cranberries. Then spoon in the heavenly saccharine mixture and blend it in with the other ingredients.



Lastly, you’ll want to grease a 9 x 9″ baking dish and scoop the mixture in. Make sure everything is spread evenly and that you press down firmly so it all sticks together (because crumbly protein bars truly suck on the go). After 25 minutes of baking, it’ll be ready! You’ll probably want to let it cool before you divvy it out! Buona merenda! 




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