A Trio of Fun, Fast, and Delicious Cereal Bars

Can you believe it is finally summer? This past month has been a huge transitional period for my family; we finished the school year in Atlanta, Georgia then packed up all of our belongings and moved back home to sunny Long Beach, California. We made a 7-day cross country road trip that was nothing short of amazing and were greeted with a spectacular welcome home from all of our friends and family here on the West Coast. Although the transition has been a fun and exciting one, I have really been struggling to get back into the swing of things, find our routine, and build my pantry. So, a few days ago with the help of our daughter, we nailed our pantries snack stash dilemma by making a trio of cereal bars that fit every flavor profile our family could possibly hope for. We have been testing these bars out on every kid and adult that comes through our front door since we made them and they have all been a HUGE hit!

There really are no wrongs or rights when it comes to a snack like a cereal bar. It’s all about the flavors and textures that you like and you are only limited by your own imagination. When gathering ingredients for my cereal bars I like to hit the bulk section of our grocery for inspiration. You can make a batch of 12-14 of these bars cheaper than you can pick up a box of cereal bars on the snack aisle, and you can feel good knowing exactly what is in each of them. Along with the fun fruits, seeds, cereals and nuts, I like to add a few healthy additions into the bars too like toasted quinoa, puffed millet, and hemp hearts. It’s a pretty fast process to make these bars, especially if you have a great helper like I do. Eliza measures and helps organize, and I deal with all of the hot stuff. When the bars are all set and it’s time to cut we wrap them individually so that we can grab a bar to go whenever we like. If you make big batches of bars like me, keep them in the fridge and let them come to room temp before you eat them. If you only make a batch at a time, they should be fine kept at room temperature.

Other Snack Bar Recipes:

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cereal Bars (Gluten Free and Vegan)

Makes 12 – 14 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds, crushed
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/3 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 cup golden flax seeds
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 4 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free almond extract
  • 2 cups gluten-free puffed brown rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup sweetened carob chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the almonds, oats, pepitas, and flax seeds on the sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the brown sugar, agave, Earth Balance, and salt to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract. *Be careful when adding the extract because the mixture will splatter a bit.
  3. Pour the sauce over the nut and oat mixture. Stir in the brown rice cereal and cherries stirring until evenly coated. Add the carob chips and stir to combine.
  4. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, extend the paper over the sides of the pan to use as a handle later. Pour the cereal mixture into the baking dish and spread out into an even layer. Cover the pan with a second piece of parchment and press down to compress the bars. Let the mixture stand for about 2 hours until firm.
  5. Discard the top piece of parchment and use the “handles” from the second piece of parchment to gently remove the cereal square from the pan then cut the square into 12-14 equal size bars and serve.

Tropical Cereal Bars (Gluten Free)

Makes 12 – 14 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, crushed
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup local honey
  • 4 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free coconut extract
  • 1 cup puffed brown rice cereal
  • 1 cup puffed millet cereal
  • 1/4 cup dried pineapple
  • 1/4 cup dried mango, diced

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the macadamia nuts, oats, cashews, flax seeds, and coconut on the sheet and bake about 8-10 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the brown sugar, honey, butter or Earth Balance and salt to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut extract. *Be careful when adding the extract because the mixture will splatter a bit.
  3. Pour the sauce over the nut and oat mixture. Stir in the brown rice cereal, millet cereal, pineapple, and mango pieces until evenly coated.
  4. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, extend the paper over the sides of the pan to use as a handle later. Pour the cereal mixture into the baking dish and spread out into an even layer. Cover the pan with a second piece of parchment and press down to compress the bars. Let the mixture stand for about 2 hours until firm.
  5. Discard the top piece of parchment and use the “handles” from the second piece of parchment to gently remove the cereal square from the pan then cut the square into 12-14 equal size bars and serve.

Ginger, Almond, and Quinoa Cereal Bars (Gluten Free)

Makes 12 – 14 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds, crushed
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/4 cup quinoa, washed very well to remove bitter coating and allowed to dry
  • 1/4 cup golden flax seeds
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup local honey
  • 4 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup hulled hemp hearts
  • 1/8 cup candied ginger, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the almonds, oats, quinoa, and flax seeds on the sheet and bake about 12-15 minutes, stirring once. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the brown sugar, honey, butter or Earth Balance and salt to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. *Be careful when adding the extract because the mixture will splatter a bit.
  3. Pour the sauce over the nut and oat mixture. Stir in the brown rice cereal, hemp hearts, and ginger until combined.
  4. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, extend the paper over the sides of the pan to use as a handle later. Pour the cereal mixture into the baking dish and spread out into an even layer. Cover the pan with a second piece of parchment and press down to compress the bars. Let the mixture stand for about 2 hours until firm.
  5. Discard the top piece of parchment and use the “handles” from the second piece of parchment to gently remove the cereal square from the pan then cut the square into 12-14 equal size bars and serve.

Meg van der Kruik of Beard and Bonnet

Meg is the blogger, photographer, and recipe developer behind Beard & Bonnet, a gluten-free vegetarian blog that celebrates style, design, food, and family. Along with her husband, she’s also one half of the duo behind award-winning eco-design studio Union Eighteen whose recycled rugs have garnered international acclaim. Her goal is to show others that gluten-free, vegetarian living can be easy and fulfilling, not to mention delicious! You can also find Meg on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

 

 

9 Responses to A Trio of Fun, Fast, and Delicious Cereal Bars

  • Dee says:

    Can you use coconut sugar or date sugar in place of the brown sugar?

    [Reply]

    Meg @ Beard and Bonnet Reply:

    @Dee, I have not tried the bars that way, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Let me know if you give it a shot!

    [Reply]

  • Eunice Robertson says:

    I have a problem in that I cannot have wheat, and my husband is diabetic. What sweeteners can I use instead of the honey and brown sugar? We cannot get the agave syrup here in South Africa.

    [Reply]

    Meg van der Kruik Reply:

    @Eunice Robertson, I have not personally tried it with other sweeteners so I am unsure of how to tell you to substitute the honey and brown sugar except for agave. If you could tell me a few things that you and your husband can eat and that are available to you I can look into it.

    [Reply]

    Eunice Robertson Reply:

    @Meg van der Kruik, Thanks for coming back to me, Meg. At the moment I am using Xylitol, Canderel, and Natreen products to sweeten desserts for him. Those are the ones which are available here in South Africa. I have seen Agave syrup here once, but it was hideously expensive, and as we are pensioners, it was out of our price range. We don’t seem to have genuine maple syrup here either, but a maple-flavoured syrup, so that is no good either.

    [Reply]

  • Lesley says:

    Do these have to be stored in the refrigerator?

    [Reply]

    Meg van der Kruik Reply:

    @Lesley, I keep mine in the fridge because I make so many of them at a time…I just wrap them individually so that my family can grab and go. If you keep them in the fridge be sure to bring to room temp before eating. Although, if you make a single batch of these and will eat them in a day or two they are fine at room temp.

    [Reply]

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  • Amy Jones says:

    Can you use other butters or oils like coconut oil or coconut butter in place of Earth Balance buttery spread?

    [Reply]

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