I love baking. Love, love, love. Every chance I get I’m baking something. New recipes, old favorites, it doesn’t matter. As long as the final product is something that I can share with my family and friends, and of course eat myself, I’m a happy woman.
What I love even more than baking is when my son helps out. From a very young age I was encouraging him to help me. We’d make no-bake peanut butter balls when he was about 18 months old. Which basically meant he just played in the dough and got super sticky. But we both had fun in the process.
Now that my son is older he can get a little more involved. He helps me measure, dump and stir. He taste-tests the dough (yes, I let my son eat dough with raw eggs in it. I just couldn’t let him miss out on this right-of-passage as a child). And now, he can even help me create new treats.
This one, my variation on Special K bars, has been nicknamed “Garbage” Bars in my house. Basically, we take all of the almost-empty boxes of cereal and snacks and dump them in the bars. Hey, it’s better than throwing it all away, right?
Next up, mixing the sweet, ooey, gooey goodness.
Don’t forget the peanut butter, a sweet treat isn’t complete without it.
Then it’s on to dumping, mixing and mashing. This is also good for building up those arm muscles. Who needs a gym?
We’re not done yet! We must top off this mixture with the best combination on the planet: peanut butter and chocolate.
Pour, smooth, and lick!
And then, finally, after all of that hard work, your treat awaits you. Chocolately. Peanut buttery. Salty. Sweet. Crunchy. Are you drooling yet?
Each time you make this treat it will be different, but I can guarantee that it will be tasty. Well, almost guarantee anyway. I’m not sure how bits of cheese crackers would taste with chocolate and peanut butter. But who knows, it may just be delicious.
This recipe is great for older and younger kids, especially since you don’t need the oven or stove. Just be careful, the bowls fresh out of the microwave can be very hot. Adult supervision is needed at all times. Someone has to teach these kids how to properly lick the spatula after all.
Adapted from BusyCooks.About.com
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 cups corn syrup
- 1-1/2 cups peanut butter
- 6 cups of any leftover cereal or snacks (I used a combination of Rice Krispies, corn Chex and Chow Mein Noodles. Pretzels, Ritz Crackers and Cheerios would also be good options)
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
Grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the leftover cereal/snack combination. Set aside.
In a large, microwave-safe bowl combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar and corn syrup. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Rinse of the spoon in very hot water.
Stir the mixture, scraping down the side of the bowl. Microwave again for 2 minutes, or until the mixture begins to bubble and boil. Rinse the spoon again in hot water.
Remove the bowl from the microwave and add in 1-1/2 cups peanut butter. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Add the cereal/snack combination. Pour in the prepared 9×13 pan. (Hint: use a spoon sprayed with non-stick spray to prevent the mixture from sticking.)
In a small, microwave-safe bowl combine the chocolate chips and 1/3 cup peanut butter. Microwave on medium power for 2 minutes. Stir. If needed, microwave for another 30 seconds to finish melting the chocolate chips. Stir until smooth and spread over the cereal/snack mixture.
Let cool completely in the fridge and then cut into 36 bars. Store in the fridge.