Cereal bars sound like such a nice idea – a quick way to grab a healthy breakfast on the way out the door. But have you seen some of what’s being sold as cereal bars in stores? There’s quite a bit of non-food masquerading as actual breakfast food these days.
The good news is, it’s pretty darned easy to make your own cereal or granola bars, using whatever’s in your pantry. In fact, you can even think of it as a pantry-cleaning effort that will help you use up those half-eaten boxes of crispy brown rice, rice puffs, granola, or whatever else you have on hand.
Added benefits: You can toss in whatever fruits or nuts you desire. You can cut them as big or as small as you like. Oh, and you can wrap them up, all pretty-like, if you want to share some with friends.
Crispy Honey-Almond Cereal Bars
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup puffed rice cereal (or other crispy cereal)
1 cup crispy brown rice cereal (or other crispy cereal)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup dried fruit (we used a mix of dried blueberries and cranberries)
1 1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 T. peanut oil (or vegetable oil if there are allergy issues)
1/2 cup honey
1 T. real maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
Kosher salt for garnish, if desired
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, cereals, and dried fruits. Set aside.
Put the slivered almonds into a food processor and process to a fine powder. Gradually add the oil until clumps begin to form and it takes on the consistency of almond butter. Add the honey, maple syrup, and vanilla, and process until smooth.
Pour the almond mixture into the bowl with the cereal mixture and stir to combine (it will be very sticky). (This is a great job for keeping a kid occupied for a while.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8 x 11-inch pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray or oil. Press the mixture (another good kid job) in the pan until flat and even. Sprinkle with a small amount of kosher salt if you like a salty/sweet bar.
Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes until slicing.
When you are ready to slice, use the parchment paper to remove the entire sheet of bars from the pan, and then cut then into clean pieces using a long, sharp knife. Store in a tightly sealed container to keep them crispy.
Yield: approximately 1 dozen regular-sized bars or 18 small bars.