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).
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 Nut Free Cereal Squares Recipe
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
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, cherries, apricots, seeds, and chocolate. 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.
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