With a hint of maple and a smooth chocolate topping, these cereal bars are a twist on the traditional rice crisp square. Not a fan of peanut butter? Try any natural nut or seed butter, such as hazelnut, almond, or sunflower seed — they all work just as well.
Peanut Butter Maple Cereal Bars
3 cups O-shaped cereal (I used Nature’s Path Whole O’s)
3 cups brown rice crisp cereal (I used Nature’s Path Brown Rice Crisps)
3/4 cup salted, dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 heaping cup natural peanut butter
1 cup dark pure maple syrup*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet nondairy chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)
2 teaspoons coconut oil (I use nonvirgin for these ones)
Line a 9-inch square pan with waxed paper.
Put the cereals and peanuts in a large bowl. Mix to combine.
Put the peanut butter and maple syrup in a saucepan. Bring to medium heat and cook, stirring until the mixture is creamy. Turn to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 90 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
Pour the mixture over the cereal mixture. Mix until well-coated. Press the mixture snuggly into the prepared pan (careful, it will be quite warm). Refrigerate or freeze while making the topping.
To make the topping, put the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30 second intervals on medium-power, stirring between each one, until melted and smooth. (You can also use a double boiler here).
Remove the bars from the refrigerator or freezer and spread the chocolate on top. Refrigerate until it is set. Cut into portions. Eat many. Store “leftovers” in the refrigerator or freezer.
[Note: Any pure maple syrup works, but dark is best for adding that maple flavor. Even better, you can get it locally at White Meadows Farm.]