My mom used to make these delicious peanut butter with a hint of chocolate-cheerio bars. While they had some good ingredients like sunflower seeds and were made with a honey base, they still had sugar in them. As you know from my recent post on baking substitutions, I love to take old recipes (okay, by recipes I mean desserts in particular 😂) and update them with less processed, more wholesome ingredients. That’s where these no bake cereal bars come in.
The original recipe calls for Cheerios and Rice Krispies. And really, as far as your traditional cereal goes these are 2 of the better choices. I’m pretty sure if you walk down the main aisle of cereal in the grocery store every single option has some added sugar and added ingredients. Both Cheerios and Rice Krispies do have sugar listed in the ingredients, but are definitely on the low side (1 g and 4 g respectively.) Why can’t they just leave the added sugar and unnecessary additives out? So, I went looking for any cereal that didn’t have added sugar or extra ingredients. I found 1 option at my local grocery store: Kashi Whole Grain Puffs. (Ingredient List: Whole Hard Red Wheat, Whole Brown Rice, Whole Oats, Whole Barley, Whole Triticale, Whole Rye, Whole Buckwheat, Sesame Seeds). No sugar, no additives.
We don’t do cereals in the morning for breakfast as we usually stick to more whole food options like Egg Bake, Overnight Oats, Apple Cranberry Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oats (my faaaavorite way to have steel cut oats), Green Smoothies, or even just Ezekiel Sprouted Toasted topped with Avocado. So when I went on a cereal scavenger hunt, I was again reminded of all of the added sugar in most cereals…even those that advertise as “healthy!” 😰
Okay, I didn’t mean to go on a tangent. Back to my no bake cereal bars. I replaced the raisins in the original bars with prunes which I actually prefer. (Casey thinks I’m crazy, but I have never really liked raisins.) The prunes actually provide more fiber and less carbohydrates anyway. Cutting back on the honey and completely knocking out the sugar made the bars fall apart a little easier so I added some coconut oil and keep them in the refrigerator.
The original bars don’t have to be refrigerated to stick together (the sugar really helps to solidify), but I’d much rather keep them in the fridge, have them a little crumbly, and forgo the extra sugar.
Of course, I left the chocolate chips in because…I believe in a life of balance. And, balance with food for me is enjoying sweet treats like these no bake cereal bars every once in a while. I love Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips. They only have 2 ingredients: Unsweetened Chocolate, Cane Sugar. (Yes, there is some refine sugar. These are optional…leave them out if you desire.)
These no bake cereal bars definitely beat most treats you can buy at the store and satisfy a sweet tooth as well. Enjoy!
No Bake Cereal Bars
- 3 cups Cereal (with no or minimal added sugar) I used Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs
- 3/4 cup chopped prunes
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips optional
- 1/3 cup Honey Use 1/2 cup if you want them to stick together a little better
- 3/4 cup Peanut Butter
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
In a large bowl, combine cereal, prunes, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chips.
Heat honey in a medium pan over stove. Stir in peanut butter, vanilla, and coconut oil. Let mixture come to a low boil and boil for about 1 minute.
Remove from heat and stir together with cereal mixture.
Press mixture into a greased 8x8 or 9x9 pan. Press down using wax paper. Let harden in refrigerator for 2 hours. Store in refrigerator to keep bars solid.