Let me just slap a disclaimer on these right away. NAUGHTY. I know that these are naughty, naughty, naughty. But today, I don't care. Sometimes you just need something really good . . . that's also bad.
I have always loved Cheerios. I really have, and have not been able to indulge for the last few years after discovering my gluten allergy. But, guess what? (Cue the angels singing) they now have Gluten Free Cheerios!! Lalalalala!!!! I am so happy. Oh, also, I swear this is not even a paid endorsement for Cheerios — I just like them and am pumped that they started making their cereal GF. Especially the Honey Nut variety (my favorite!).
It also gave me the encouragement to make something that I have pining for these kind of sweet dessert cereal bars for maybe close to a year. It has been on my list of "to make" and I just haven't gotten to it. Probably mostly for lack of GF cereals to do it with.
I remember my mom making something like this when I was young and when I looked up the old Betty Crocker recipe, I knew that I had to improve upon it. I added honey roasted peanuts to go with the peanut butter and added brown sugar, kosher salt and a chocolaty peanuty topping that takes these little crispy, chewy, sweet and salty bars to the next level. Make these for school snacks, tailgating parties, or just because you really, really need them.
- 6 cups Honey Nut Cheerios cereal (I used gluten-free)
- 1 cup plus 1/4 cup honey roasted peanuts, chopped and separated
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cups peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cheerios and 1 cup honey roasted peanuts.
- In a saucepan, combine the corn syrup, brown sugar, peanut butter, vanilla and salt. Mix together over medium heat until it simmers.
- Add it to the cereal and peanuts and mix really well then immediately transfer to the prepared baking dish. Use a spatula to push the cereal down firmly getting a flat surface on top.
- Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- While the bars are firming up, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave and chop the remaining 1/4 cup of honey roasted peanuts.
- Generously drizzle the melted chocolate over the bars and then immediately sprinkle with the chopped peanuts. Put the pan back in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up and then slice into bars. Store in an airtight container.
- About 1 dozen bars