No-Bake Cereal Bars

In Homepage - Desserts, Main Dishes by Frances Largeman-Roth

If you’ve ever made the cereal bars on the back of the Chex box, you know that they are ah-mazing! But you may have also noticed that they call for 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of corn syrup. While there is definitely a place for corn syrup in certain recipes (like my Rum Balls), it’s not an ingredient that I want to use in everyday treats like these no-bake cereal bars. It took me a few tries, but I found the right combination that is sweet enough, but reduces the overall sugar in the bars by about 40 percent. I also upped the fiber by including rolled oats and boosted the healthy fats by adding hemp seeds to the chocolate topping. You virtually don’t notice them though–just the rich chocolatey topping and the crunchy peanut-buttery cereal.

These bars are gluten-free if you use gluten-free oats and can be made dairy-free by using non-dairy chocolate and opting for plant butter. Make them for the Super Bowl or for your next movie night!

NO-BAKE CEREAL BARS

Cooking spray
2 cups rolled oats
4 cups Chex cereal
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or plant butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
Pinch salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup hemp seeds
Sea salt (optional)

1. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. Combine the oats and cereal in a large bowl; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, bring honey and sugar to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 5 min. Stir in the vanilla and butter, until butter melts. Whisk in the peanut butter until the mixture is smooth. Turn heat off.

3. Pour the PB mixture over the cereal and combine thoroughly with a spatula. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish.

4. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, until smooth. Stir in the hemp seeds, then pour over the cereal. Use a spatula to smooth the chocolate to the edges.

5. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight. Using a sharp knife, cut into 24 bars. Enjoy! Bars can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.