Honey and Peanut Butter Booster Bars

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

These jam-packed near relatives of the flapjack are my antidote to the devil’s work—those big-brand “energy” bars that fester among the chocolate on every gas station counter masquerading as a late breakfast. I wouldn’t call these a substitute for breakfast, and I wouldn’t make outlandish health claims for them either. But the fruity, oaty, nutty, seedy elements will certainly ensure a hefty dose of natural goodness. Far more importantly, they taste delicious.


Cooking Methodbaking



Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

Recipe Coursesnack

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, soy free, vegetarian

Mealbreakfast, brunch, snack

Taste and Texturechewy, fruity, nutty, sweet


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup no-sugar-added crunchy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup honey, plus a little more to finish
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ¾ cup dried fruit, such as raisins, chopped apricots, prunes, or dates, either singly or in combination
  • 1 cup mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, flaxseed, and sesame


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F:

  2. Grease and line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

  3. Put the butter, sugar, peanut butter, honey, and grated citrus zests in a deep saucepan over very low heat. Let heat until melted, stirring from time to time.

  4. Stir the oats, dried fruit, and three-quarters of the seeds into the melted butter mixture until thoroughly combined. Spread the mixture out evenly in the prepared pan, smoothing the top as you go.

  5. Scatter the remaining seeds over the surface and drizzle with a little more honey. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden in the center and golden brown on the edges.

  6. Let cool completely in the pan (be patient - it cuts much better when cold), then turn out and cut into squares with a sharp knife. These bars will keep for 5 to 7 days in an airtight tin.

  7. Variation: Banana booster bars

  8. Replace the peanut butter with 1 medium ripe banana (about 6 ounces), mashed. Stir it in after all the other ingredients have been combined.


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