Gluten Free Nut Free Cereal Squares Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on May 8, 2012

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[donotprint]These bars are basically the love child of a rice crispy treat and a granola bar. But they are gluten free, refined sugar free and a whole lot healthier. They are also nut and dairy free. And they happen to be crazy good!

With the temperatures already starting to soar here in Florida I also love the fact that these bars require no baking! I would much rather put my fridge to use than my oven when the thermometer is already flirting around the 90 degree mark.

I am going on a road trip with the family next month and as we all know, snacking on a road trip is an essential element to the whole experience. While I do like to have a couple naughty little treats on hand, it is also nice to have something to munch on that feels naughty but isn’t. I think these bars will be a perfect addition to our on-the-road stock of munchies.

These are fun to make with the kiddos – you do the chopping and heating and they can mix and press. You may have a tiny bit of trouble keeping them occupied while the mixture chills in the fridge for an hour but then again, patience is a much needed virtue (or so I am told).

Gluten Free Nut Free Cereal Bars

This recipe is loosely based on one I saw in Sunset magazine, they used puffed rice cereal, almond butter, dried cherries, nuts, and chopped dark chocolate. I decided to give my recipe a nut free make over by using Sunbutter and seeds and instead of puffed rice I used Rice Twice, a gluten free cereal that contains a combination of puffed and crispy rice. I added things, took out things and played around with quantities of ingredients to get big fat squares.

The beauty of these bars is that you can customize them anyway you see fit. I like the combination of apricots, tart cherries, dark chocolate and salty, roasted pumpkin seeds but you can use any dried fruit or seed you love. Not a fan of dark chocolate? Use dairy free semi-sweet chocolate chips instead. And if you want to make this recipe vegan just swap out the honey with brown rice syrup or agave.

I looked at someone’s recipe, changed it up the way I wanted and made it my own. How would you take this recipe and make it YOUR own?

Gluten Free Cereal Bars
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Gluten Free Nut Free Cereal Squares Recipe

Ingredients

Gluten free non-stick cooking spray
1/3 cup Sunbutter – any variety
½ cup honey (use agave or brown rice syrup for vegan)
2 tablespoons Earth Balance (or other dairy free butter)
3 cups Rice Twice Cereal (or other gluten free puffed or crispy rice cereal)
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 ¼ cups roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
3.5 ounces (about ½ cup when chopped) dark chocolate, chopped or use chocolate chips

Directions

Spray an 8 inch by 8 inch baking dish with gluten free non-stick cooking spray. Line the dish with two pieces of plastic wrap making sure the wrap hangs over the edges by a couple inches.

In a small sauce pan combine the Sunbutter, honey and Earth balance and heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and fully combined.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cereal, apricots, cherries, chocolate and seeds. Add the Sunbutter mixture and stir until well coated. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with another piece of plastic wrap and press the mixture down really firmly. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Remove the top layer of plastic wrap and using the overhanging pieces, remove the mixture from the dish and place on a cutting board. With a sharp knife cut the mixture into quarters and then cut each quarter into quarters.

The cereal squares can be made up to a week ahead, store in the refrigerator between sheets of waxed paper.

Servings

A gluten free recipe that makes 16 squares.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Terra May 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm

I was thinking about making granola bars this week, but couldn’t decide what to put in them….what I was in the mood for:-) I am in love with this recipe, and they would be fantastic when I travel! Take care, Terra

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Carol Kicinski May 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Thank you Terra – you take care too and enjoy!

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jas @ the gluten free scallywag May 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm

you know carol, it’s scary how close these are to the bars I just made last weekend only my were using peanut butter – they’re so tasty with the dried fruit in. Perfect as a kind of naughty breakfast on the go when you realise at 9.30 that you haven’t eaten anything yet!

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Carol Kicinski May 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Kind of naughty and nice at the same time and I know what you mean, it happens to me all the time (but usually I don’t realize I haven’t eaten until later than that!).

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Stephanie May 8, 2012 at 11:13 pm

I think it sounds delicious just the way it is! Fantastic combination of fruits w/ chocolates…I can almost taste it now!

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Carol Kicinski May 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Aww, thanks Stephanie! Thery are pretty delish as is :)

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Nancy@http://glutenfreetravels.blogspot.com May 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm

These sound wonderful and so simple. I love the idea of the dark chocolate added in there. Yum!

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Carol Kicinski May 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Thanks Nancy!

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Alisa May 9, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Delicious looking recipe Carol! Love Rice Twice – I wish they had it at my local store. I’ll pick up some of their regular brown rice crispies and give this a go though.

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Carol Kicinski May 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Thanks Alisa – I don’t see any reason this recipe wouldn’t work with whatever rice cereal you can find, but let me know!

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Maggie May 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm

These sound so yummy! My kids just started eating cereal bars (store-bought) and I would love to try making them myself! Thanks for the recipe Carol. I am a HUGE fan of the apricots in this recipe. xo

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Carol Kicinski May 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Thank you Maggie!

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Wanda@ Baking and Pastry Schools May 10, 2012 at 11:32 am

Chewy and indulgent Recipe! Pics you added looking spunky :)

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Carol Kicinski May 10, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Thank you Wanda!

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Alta May 10, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Wow, these look so good and so pretty! I’m definitely thinking I need to give a version a try!

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Carol Kicinski May 10, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Thanks Alta, they were pretty darn tasty if I do say so myself :)

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InTolerantChef May 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

These look so tasty, light and lovely!

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Carol Kicinski May 12, 2012 at 8:34 am

Thank you! Must say, they were pretty darn tasty!

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Kim (Cook It Allergy Free) May 11, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Yes! You are talking my language here, girlfriend. We might hit 100 this weekend and I just cannot turn the oven on for too long when it is that hot. It raises the temps in the kitchen like 10 degrees immediately! I am totally going to make these-my boys will devour them!

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Carol Kicinski May 12, 2012 at 8:33 am

Well Kim, at least Arizona has a dry heat :) Thank you and enjoy!!!

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melissa January 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm

These look great! I’m going to make them this weekend. I was thinking about using cocoa nibs instead of the chocolate so that I can avoid any sugar in the chocolate. Any thoughts on that? I have a bag, but have never used them. I tasted one and found it a little…..odd, but maybe mixed into something like this they would be good.

Reply

Carol Kicinski January 12, 2013 at 6:33 am

Hi Melissa. I am like you and find them a little odd tasting but my thoughts are with so much else going on in these they should be fine. You can always just leave the chocolate out all together. Enjoy and if you do make them with the cocoa nibs, let me know how they turn out.

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melissa January 12, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I made these today and while I switched up a few ingredients (the cocoa nibs were fine, by the way) I didn’t have Sunbutter so I used raw almond butter, honey and EarthBalance for the wet ingredients. But even after several hours in the fridge, mine never hardened up so I could cut it into squares. Any ideas?

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Carol Kicinski January 14, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Hmm, the only thing I can think of is that the liquid content of the almond butter is higher than that of the Sunbutter. The other thing is that you really have to press the mixture into the pan VERY firmly or it will just fall apart. Maybe try repressing?

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Mary May 1, 2013 at 8:08 pm

These look great, but two worries/questions: my son is very allergic to sesame, and I’m scared to try other seeds, from Sunbutter to pumpkin seeds. Not sure how to get over this. Don’t want to put him through blood work and skin tests again. Hmm. Also, how do you find dried fruit (cherries, etc.) that is not cross-contaminated with nuts? I haven’t been able to find much of anything. That goes for dates, cherries, etc. Thanks for any thoughts on these two things…

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Carol Kicinski May 3, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Hi Mary. I find that it is always helpful to ask questions. Ask your grocer if products are gluten free or not. If he/she doesn’t knpow thwn the internet is your friend. Seach for specific answers. I hope this helps and good luck! I do know that Sunbutter is gluten free and free of contamination from other nuts.

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