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…

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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 🙂

Homemade (healthified) Reese’s Puffs-ish Cereal

The other day I had a ratchet craving for Reese’s Puffs cereal. Maybe it’s because I spent all day hosting kiddie’s birthday parties at a froyo shop, where I watch wee little ones pile on every fluorescent color and artificially flavored goodie onto their mountains of frozen yogurt, but lately I’ve been craving some #tbt nostogolia noms.

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You know what I mean. Things you don’t really eat anymore but still want once in a while. Like Fun-Dips. Frosted animal crackers. Lunchables and fruit snacks and Capri Suns. And dessert-y cereal like Capt’n Crunch and Kix and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Or in my most recent case, Reese’s Puffs. I don’t generally a lot of eat sugary cereal, though (more of a plain grain girl in the morning), so I didn’t have any Reese’s Puffs chillin in pantry. So instead of going to the store <5 minutes from my house to buy some like a normal human being, I was like “I’ll make my own!”

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…because that’s way less of a hassle. NOT. Whatever. Sometimes I don’t really bake crazy, weird, complicated, or bizarre stuff for any reason other than I enjoy the challenge. Baking has always been my hobby since I could hold a spoon, so I pretty much live to create unnecessary mini-projects for myself, like make homemade marshmallows and graham crackers, and apparently Reese’s Puffs.

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Lately I’ve been intrigued by homemade cereal anyways, so I figured this craving was a convenient excuse to give it a whirl. These babies are yes, tasty, and yes, far more work than purchasing a box of cereal at the store. But they’re healthier. And you can actually eat more than a bowl without feeling a sugar-glaze on your entire mouth/throat. Also, if you make these, you can say you fucking made Reese’s Puffs. Which sounds totally cool and/or like you REALLY need a life depending on who you speak to. I’d also like to publicly acknowledge that these kind of look like turds or weird rabbit food. I’m okay with that. Now let’s move on.

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In summary, these are a bit putsy, but yummy. I really just like them as a dry snack. Zipped in a baggie they’d go great in your backpack for a study boost, and/or in your apron as you work 3 back-to-back birthday parties at your local froyo shop. Not that I speak from experience. They make a great addition to yogurt, too. Puff puff. Crunch crunch. Nom nom.


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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10-20 minutes
Level: Easy (but putsy)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flours of your choice (I used a mix of whole-wheat and oat flour)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (If you don’t have this, substitute with a higher-protein flour, like oat or bread. If you have none of these, all-purpose will suffice!)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup honey and/or maple syrup

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place flours, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda into a bowl and mix.

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3. Place peanut butter into a small bowl and microwave for 30-60 seconds until warm and melty and yummy. Pour honey and/or maple syrup into the microwave and give it a nice stir until you have a gooey, sticky peanut butter mixture.

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4. Place flour mixture into a food processor and pulse ingredients together. Meanwhile, slowly pour the peanut butter mixture throw the funnel-thing and a sticky dough should eventually form. You may need to add more honey and/or maple syrup. And/or melted peanut butter if that’s what you’re more into. You just need to make sure the dough is sticky-ish. The dough should be a little dry, but moist enough to shape and hold together.

5. Transfer to a bowl and mix if necessary. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into tiny Reese’s-Puff sized balls.

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6. Place onto parchment paper. Pop into the oven for 10-14 minutes, until hard and crunchy and slightly lighter in color.

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7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Pop into your mouth directly, or enjoy with milk of choice in a bowl. Goes well with bananas. And/or mixed into your regular breakfast cereal to #shakeitup. And yes, they do make your milk taste extra gooooood at the end ;-).

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