Loaded with good-for-you ingredients, these not-too-sweet bars still taste like a treat, and they'll withstand cold, heat, and being stuffed in a backpack or pocket. Natural peanut butters vary from brand to brand in terms of spreadability; we prefer Laura Scudder's Old Fashioned Nutty Peanut Butter, because it makes a moister, chewier bar.
1 cup regular rolled oats
1/3 cup oat bran
3 tablespoons flax seeds
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped roasted salted peanuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup finely chopped dried Mission figs
3/4 cup natural chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup low-fat milk
1 large egg
1/2 cup honey
Finely shredded zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
How to Make It
Line a 9- by 13-in. pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang on the 9-in. sides, and coat with cooking-oil spray. In a large bowl, stir together oats, oat bran, flax seeds, flour, baking powder, salt, peanuts, cranberries, and figs until well blended.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together peanut butter, milk, egg, honey, lemon zest, and lemon juice until well blended.
Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture and beat until completely blended. Scrape dough into pan and, with wet fingers or a rubber spatula, pat to fill pan completely and evenly (dough is sticky, so you may need to wash your hands a few times). Chill dough until firm, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°. Invert pan onto a work surface, lift off pan, and peel off plastic. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut straight down lengthwise through middle, then crosswise to make 16 bars, each 1 1/2 in. wide. Place bars about 1 in. apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Bake bars until lightly browned and somewhat firm to touch, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Make ahead: Store airtight up to 2 weeks or freeze.