I have a bit of a passion for fast recipes. Especially when the end result never lets on how simple they are or how quickly they can be prepared. It’s a bit like that rush when finding a fantastic bargain on something you never imagine would be on sale, let alone THAT on sale. It leaves me a bit unexpectedly giddy.
This is a busy time of year for everyone. Kids are back in school, which at first blush you’d imagine would allow more time for parents however for me it seems my To Do list I put off over the fun-filled summer is holding a stare down with me as soon as late August arrives. More than in the spring I begin nesting in the fall. I want to take care of all those fix it chores that have been left hanging, errands I’ve been able to put off, cleaning up the garden for winter and more.
I also want to cook again when September rolls around. As soon as the weather cools, I love to pull out the slow cooker for simple, savory (effortless) dishes. Baking sounds fun again. I love to have treats around for my kids but not at the cost of a half day of toiling in the kitchen to do so.
Over the long weekend everyone in my family was going in a different direction. They’d each eaten something for dinner and when I emerged from working on another segment of our fantastic trip to the Canadian Maritimes, hungry-but-not-too-hungry, I decided to have a bowl of one of our favorite gluten-free cereals that is peanut butter flavored. I’m not a huge cereal eater but it sounds light and I love peanut butter as well as the crunchy texture of the cereal.
As I was crunching away it struck me that it would be great in a cereal bar treat. Having not made them for awhile, I had forgotten how quick they are. As in 10-15 minutes quick. Sort of unbelievable anything could actually be that fast to make. The ingredients are simple: cereal, marshmallows, butter and I threw in some mini chocolate chips and a chocolate drizzle on the top. All things I already had at home. The bars set up almost immediately. The only waiting time is for the chocolate on top to set up, which can be sped up by placing the pan in the refrigerator.
How can you NOT make something so good that is so fast?!
No bake cereal bar treats featuring an iconic flavor combination of peanut butter and chocolate are a sure hit. Either gluten-free or regular cereal may be used to accommodate dietary needs.
- ¼ cup Unsalted Butter, cut roughly into ¼ tablespoon pieces
- 1 16-ounce package large Marshmallows (the equivalent volume of mini marshmallows may be substituted)
- 10 cups Peanut Butter ball cereal such as Captain Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal; I used Enviro Kids Panda Puffs which are gluten-free
- 1 ½ cups Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
- 2 ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate (may be chips) to melt for the top drizzle
- Butter or spray with non-stick spray an 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Set aside.
- In a large glass mixing bowl, combine the marshmallows and butter. Melt in the microwave for 2-4 minutes on high. Check part way through and stir to combine with a silicon mixing spoon sprayed with cooking spray (keeps the marshmallows from sticking to the spoon).
- In a second mixing bowl or container large enough to hold the cereal, combine the cereal and mini chocolate chips. Toss to mix together.
- Pour the melted marshmallow mixture into the cereal and stir quickly (again with a silicon mixing spoon sprayed with non-stick spray) to fully combine. Spoon into the prepared baking dish and press down with the spoon.
- Place the 2 ounces of chocolate into a small glass mixing bowl and heat in the microwave for 1 ½ minutes on 50% Power. Stir, and repeat for 1 ½ minute at 50% power until fully melted (or if almost melted at 1 ½ minutes, decrease the time for the second phase after stirring).
- Using a dining spoon, hold a spoonful of the melted chocolate over the cereal bars and gently shake the spoon from side to side while moving it over the bars to make a light drizzle. Repeat until the bars are covered to your liking. Allow the chocolate drizzle to cool and harden before cutting (note: if made in warm temperatures, the pan may be refrigerated to hasten the chocolate hardening).
- Cut into 2-inch by 1-inch bars.