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Swag Bars

by on January 11, 2009 · 25 comments

Today’s recipe is based on a cookie served at The Swag Inn, a country inn in Waynesville, NC known for its beautiful hiking trails. It also appears in the current issue of Cooking Light where there’s kind of a cute story about how the cookie got discovered. I’ll let you buy the magazine for the story, but I just have to share the recipe which luckily, is right here on CL’s Recipe Finder.

These rich, no-bake cookie bars remind me of Scotheroos, but with less sugar and (as Cooking Light says) a better nutritional profile. CL reduced some of the sugary ingredients, cut down the chocolate, used a healthy vitamin fortified cereal and increased the peanuts so that the bars have a slightly crunch plus the heart healthy benefits of peanuts.

I know a lot of people will want to cut the sugar even more, so if you do, let me know. It will probably change the great texture, but I still think it could be done. Using Karo’s new Karo Lite might work and there’s always the option of using reduced fat and/or reduced sugar peanut butter. And for those who don’t care so much about calories but don’t like corn syrup, I think Golden Syrup would work too.

…..or you could just follow Cooking Light’s recipe and enjoy a small bar. I actually like Cooking Light’s version better than regular Scotcheroos. The bars have more flavor and are less sugary tasting.

Final note. I used Smart Balance Omega 3 peanut butter which isn’t very sweet. If you use something like regular Jif, your bars will be a little sweeter. But the Smart Balance worked well and I think Natural Skippy or the new (just saw it yesterday!) Natural Jif would be good.

Swag Bars

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Published on January 11, 2009

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

snooky doodle January 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm

such a nice treat !!

VeggieGirl January 11, 2009 at 3:53 pm

Love the “health benefits” of peanuts bit, haha – you rock :-D

Sue January 11, 2009 at 4:51 pm

Yours look and sound very tasty. Someone at My Recipes didn’t give them a very nice review. I’m glad to know that you liked them.

Maria January 11, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Nice to see a good review. Total was on sale this week for $2 so I figured it was worth the splurge to try out the recipe. Course I haven’t gotten around to making them yet …

bakingblonde January 11, 2009 at 5:05 pm

The name just doesn’t do it for me, not sure why. They do look and sound yummy though!

Anna January 11, 2009 at 5:05 pm

I had to pay $4.00 for the Total.

Katrina January 11, 2009 at 5:07 pm

A healthy treat! :) Just what I like!
They look great!

Rina January 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Thanks for the heads up on the natural Jif – I can’t wait to try it (big fan of Skippy Natural)!

janet January 11, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Anna: Do you think Wheaties would work in this one? They look very good…thank you!

sharon January 11, 2009 at 7:01 pm

I bookmarked that recipe in CL and have been curious about their test. Thanks for testing it out – they look delicious!

Dani January 11, 2009 at 7:35 pm

great job – they look delicious!

Anna January 11, 2009 at 7:51 pm

I think Wheaties would be great! I bought Total because I like the idea of getting a few extra vitamins, but I think that’s just a psycological thing. Wheaties should be perfect in terms of taste and texture.

Sara January 12, 2009 at 7:24 am

These look yummy and I like the idea of subbing golden syrup for some of the scary amount of corn syrup…do you think you could reduce the amount of corn syrup or is it all necessary to hold the bars together?

On another note, have you tried to Coffee Crunch Bars from the recent issue of Bon Appetite? They look really easy and delicious but the baking instructions are a bit different.

Anna January 12, 2009 at 7:37 am

Hi Sara,

Thanks for pointing me toward the Coffee Crunch Bars. I think I have everything I need to make those today and might. It’s a toss-up between Coffee Crunch cookies and an variation on a crinkle cookie someone recommended on the crinkle cookie post.

About the corn syrup, I don’t think the bars would be as chewy or hold together well if you reduced it. But if you use a less sweet peanut butter, the bars won’t be too sweet.

Katrina January 12, 2009 at 7:49 am

Lori at Recipe Girl just posted some “bars” and she didn’t have enough corn syrup for them and used some agave and it worked great. I’ll bet you could sub some or even most (all?) of the corn syrup and try agave and/or golden. Just my opinion.

Anna January 12, 2009 at 7:56 am

I think agave might work, but am on the fence about using it in this recipe. I love it, but wish it wasn’t so expensive :(. Someone mentioned that Trader Joe’s had it for $3.99, but we don’t have a Trader Joe’s here in Austin. We’re still paying around $7.00.

Katrina January 12, 2009 at 10:43 am

I agree, agave is stinkin’ expensive here, too. No TJ’s anywhere around these parts.
Anna, just made the agave WF oatmeal cookies you made last week. Still baking. I’ll let you know.

Kristen January 12, 2009 at 3:14 pm

These look like just the right balance between sweet and salty, which just happens to be what I’ve been craving lately :)

Terri January 12, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Hey Anna – Is the Jif you mentioned in this post called “Simply Jif”? Or is there a newer Jif that is more natural? I can’t find it on their website and my curiosity is piqued! Thanks!

Anna January 12, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Hi Terri,

Well, maybe I was hallucinating but I could have sworn it was Jif with a big label saying “Jif Natural” or “Natural Jif”….and I remember thinking “Skippy Natural better watch out!”. But we were in a hurry to leave Target and I didn’t buy a jar. I figured I could get it at H.E.B. later.

Later, I went to H.E.B. and they had Simply Jif, which I noted had a completely different label than the Jif Natural.

Maybe they are test marketing it. That, or I’m going crazy.

Lisa CC January 13, 2009 at 9:50 am

What do you guys think if I don’t like peanuts but they sound good otherwise… could I just take them out? Or maybe use less and i would be okay with it…

Anna January 13, 2009 at 10:58 am

Lisa, I think the bars would still be really good. You might want to add a little extra cereal to make up for the lost nuts.

janet January 15, 2009 at 6:46 pm

I made these today and they are very good. Were they supposed to be chewy like caramel? I did use the Wheaties and weighed them rather than measured cups so maybe that’s why mine don’t look like yours? It was very easy and thanks for the recipe!

marilynn carroll June 2, 2011 at 11:08 am

Do you measure out the peanut butter into 1 cup and 3/4 cup measures?
or can you eye-ball a 15 ounce container and that works….

Anna June 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

Marilynn, that’s a great question! I always measure my peanut butter with a scale. It’s accurate and you don’t have to worry about using a measuring cup. What I do is set the mixing bowl on the scale, set the tare to zero and use 130 grams or about 4 1/2 oz of peanut butter for every half cup called for in the recipe. That being said, this is a case where eyeballing 15 oz should be fine.

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