Sunday, August 4, 2013

Trail Mix Cereal Bars

Trail Mix Cereal Bars with Cranberries,
Almonds, and Chocolate

I was making chocolate chip cookies yesterday and noticed I had extra chocolate chips and corn syrup in my pantry.  I noticed Anna was playing around with the Scotcheroo recipe over on her blog called Cookie Madness, so I think I had Scotcheroos on my brain. 

Scotcheroos sounded really good but I had no Rice Crispies (cereal) on hand.  It got me to thinking of the store-bought Trail Mix Granola Bars I like which include ingredients such as almonds, dried cranberries, and are sometimes topped with a bit of chocolate.  In my mind, I was justifying making a sweet treat (that I did not need) by making them "healthy" by adding in some wholesome ingredients. I went the extra mile and toasted the raw almonds before I chopped them.   At the last minute, I decided to add in some quick oats to make it "more healthy".  I debated between putting the chocolate chips in the bars or melting the chocolate and spreading it on top of the bars.  I opted for the latter as you will see. 

This recipe makes a ton and I am probably the only one in my family who will eat them.  I took half of the recipe and wrapped them in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and we'll see how well they freeze. I put the other bars in little snack size plastic bags and I plan to bring them to work to share on Monday.  This recipe could easily be cut in half for a smaller batch.  One could also use a little less chocolate to make these tasty treats less sweet and rich. I suppose the chocolate topping could be omitted but I like the chocolate/cranberry combination.  Also, next time I make this recipe, I think I might try to make them in a jelly roll pan I have which I think measures 15x10x1inches.

Trail Mix Cereal Bars

1 cup whole raw almonds 
6 cups Cheerios (or similar oat ring cereal) 
1 cup quick cooking oats 
1 cup Craisins (dried sweetened cranberries) 
1 cup granulated sugar 
1 cup corn syrup 
1 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky) 
2 cups Tollhouse semi-sweet morsels (chocolate chips) 

Lightly spray a 9x13x2 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray (such as PAM).

In a skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds, stirring frequently, until the almonds are fragrant and slightly browned. Should take about 4 or 5 minutes. Set aside to cool and then coarsely chop.

In a large bowl, combine the Cheerios, oats, almonds, and cranberries. Set aside.

In a large pot, combine the sugar and corn syrup; heat over medium to medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture starts to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the peanut butter until it's melted and well combined. Add in the Cheerios/oats/almonds/cranberries. Quickly stir all ingredients together until coated and then transfer it all to the prepared 9x13x2 pan. Mash the ingredients into an even layer. Mashing the ingredients will help the bars stick together well... so mash away.

Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high power (100%) for about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, stopping every 30 to 45 seconds to stir. When chocolate is all melted and smooth, spread the chocolate over the cereal mixture in the pan and smooth in an even layer. Allow to cool and cut into bars. Store in plastic bags with zip closure or in plastic storage container with tight fitting lid. 


1 comment:

Anna said...

I think we have the same things in our pantry this week (aside from the cereals). I'm still trying to use up Rice Krispies, but it looks like I now have an excuse to get some Cheerios. That's funny that you're the only one eating them. Me too. I need to start sending things to Todd's office again.