3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerio Bars

Hello! It me. I bring to you another dessert recipe from Wisconsin since my flight to NYC was canceled this morning due to the wind! Blah. I suppose this means even more time to experiment with dessert recipes since I will no longer have the opportunity to stuff myself with Van Leeuwen vegan ice cream this weekend (my absolute fav).easy-vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

Now I will preface this recipe by acknowledging that I’m aware I did not break any culinary boundaries in creating these. And that’s fine. But these bars are beauties because they’re super duper easy and super duper delicious. They’re also vegan and gluten-free, if you’re into that kinda thing.

They’re also highly addictive. My mom ate like 3/4th of the tray in one sitting. We are definitely related. Chocolate is a food group, according to us. vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

So a lil history on these bars: they came about because as a constantly-on-a-budget TJs fanatic, I am always looking up ways to create cheap after-dinner sweet snacks. In grad school I starting buying bags of chocolate chips for $1.99 (yup, TJ’s chocolate chips are vegan) and boxes of TJ’s Joe’s O’s (which are the Trader Joe’s equivalent of Cheerios) also for $1.99. I would mix chocolate chips and Joe’s Os in a wee little bowl and nibble on the mixture while studying.

The mix is a bit sweet, a bit carby, chocolatey, and crunchy. It’s highly satisfying, easy-to-prepare, and cheap as can be! It really stretches out a bag of chocolate chips, and has the added bonus that Joe’s O’s are decently not-too-shabby-for-you, making it a snack that’s easy to eat every night without feeling icky.

Then one day last month, I  was making puppy chow for my sister when she was in town, and I ventured to the grocery store to get a box of Chex. And then I got home and saw my Cheerios and I was like…I wonder if….!

And so this month, I tried it. I basically used the puppy chow idea (melted chocolate + pb) with Cheerios in place of Chex, but pressed them into a pan instead of coating them with powdered sugar.vegan-gluten-free-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

The result is a crunchy, easy peasy snack that satisfies any crunchy chocolate peanut butter craving. They’re just damn good and damn delicious.

Anyways, without further audieu, I present to you…

3-Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerio Bars [Vegan & Gluten-Free]vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars-gf

Prep Time:  10 mins
Cook Time:0 mins, but require at least 20 minutes refrigeration
Total Time: ~30 minutes
Servings: 12 bars

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups plain Cherrios or Joe’s O’s
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • sea salt (optional)

Method:

  1. Grease a 12″x12″ inch pan.
  2. In a large microwave safe bowl, heat chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments until almost melted (roughly 90 seconds – 3minutes). When chips are almost melted, add peanut butter and microwave an additional 30-60 seconds, until chips are fully melted and peanut butter is melty.
  3. Stir chocolate peanut butter mixture. Add cereal. Toss to coat cereal in chocolate mixture.
  4. Press into prepared pan.
  5. Place bars into the refrigerator or freezer until set, at least 20-30 minutes.
  6. Slice and enjoy.

Homemade Oatmeal Flax Flakes Cereal

I don’t know why the idea of homemade cereal intrigues me so much. it has for a while. Remember when I made Homemade Healthified Reese’s Puffs Cereal? Yeah that was weird too. I just love cereal. But never for breakfast. Breakfast is meant for nut butter toast with fruits and oatmeal. But that’s another story.

Homemade Oatmeal Flax Flakes Cereal. Vegan & Gluten-free

Cereal my nightly bedtime snack. Anyone else this way? Only cereal at-night-type-person? Anyways, as I’ve gotten older and more progressively boring, my cereal choices have as well. Besides random sugar cravings I rarely eat or even desire sweet cereal. The sweetest I’ll go is like, Honey-Nut Trader Joe’s O’s or certain Kashi cereals. Dats it.

Homemade Oatmeal Flax Flakes Cereal. Vegan && Gluten-free!

We have these Oatmeal Flake things at Trader Joe’s. People like them. Sometimes we’re out of them and people get sad. I’m sorry friends. It happens. I get sad when we run out of organic bananas before I can buy a bunch, especially on a day with lots of good bunches. Food anticipation followed by let down is the worst.

Homemade Oatmeal Flax Flakes Cereal. Vegan && Gluten-free

Anyways, I randomly wanted to make cereal this morning and wanted something not-too-sweet that had some substance too it. I love oatmeal and decided making Oatmeal Flakes would be a good way to go. I added flax because I enjoy the nutty flavor it adds to things and it makes an excellent binding agent in baking. The result was a crunchy, oat-y, delightful flake cereal that is excellent with almond milk and/or as a snack.

Homemade Oatmeal Flax Flakes Cereal. Vegan & Gluten-free

I gotta be honest I was kind of shocked at how well this stuff came out. I was panicking that it was going to be a fail-boat while it was in the oven so then I ended up also making a batch of Cherry Vanilla Almond Granola so then I had Cherry Vanilla Almond Granola and Homemade Oatmeal Flax Flake Cereal and I concluded I really need a life.

Homemade Oatmeal Flax Flakes Cereal.  Vegan & Gluten-free

But then again I don’t. I’m happy as a clam just hanging with my dog and baking most days so if that makes me lame, so be it. I’m lame and happy. So ha!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 30-40 minutes
Level: Easy

makes about 2 cups cereal, easily doubled

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oat flour (can make by grinding oats in a food processor or blender for two hours)
  • 1/2 cup flax
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional, and can add up to 3 tablespoons. i just prefer not-too-sweet-cereal)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup almond milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a large bowl, combine oats flour, flax, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Mix well.  Add almond milk and mix again until a wet, putty mixture forms.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour mixture onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and spread into a thin layer with a spatula. Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the mixture has totally dried out and the edges begin to lift.

4. Remove sheet from oven and allow to cool. Cut with a kitchen shears into strips, and then bite-sized pieces, and/or break with your hands for a rustic, flakey look. Enjoy with your favorite nondairy milk or as a snack 🙂