Thursday, August 21, 2014

peanut butter flax cereal bars.

I absolutely love protein/snack bars such as Luna Bars, Cliff Bars, etc. What I don't love is that bagillions of ingredients, AND I've come to learn that even though a large portion of their ingredients are organic, they aren't GMO-free. (Whyyyyyy!?!)  Don't get me wrong, I'm not swearing them off for good, but for around a buck a bar, I felt like I could have a more cost-effective equally as delicious snack, and feel good knowing I don't have to read a short story to know what they're made of. 
I don't usually count calories, but out of curiosity I did a little middle school mathematics, and found they came out to around 110 calories per bar,  between 2 and 3 grams of fat, and around 4-5 grams of sugar. Of course, this will vary depending on what kind of chocolate (and how much you use),  nut butter, sweetener, and protein powder (or not) you choose. Don't be afraid to experiment with different ingredients than I used, this recipe is super flexible! The one thing I tried that I wasn't happy with was doing part real PB, and part PB2 (powdered peanut butter that you mix with water) They ended up a little chewy, which I later realized was because of the water I mixed in, which soggified (cool word huh?) the cereal. 


Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Flax Cereal Bars
15-20 servings (you can cut them as big or small as you'd like)

3 cups Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax Cereal (can sub an organic brown rice cereal too!)
1/2 cup organic salted peanut butter (watch out for added sugar!) (link to my favorite here)
1/2 cup organic brown rice syrup (or other sticky sweetener, like agave!)
3 tablespoons protein powder (optional, I used Vega protein smoothie in vanilla)
1/2 tsp salt
3oz dark chocolate bar, or 1/2 cup-1 cup of dark chocolate chips, depending on how thick of a chocolate layer you want! (I used Lily's Dark Chocolate, sweetened with stevia!)
Coarse sea salt, for sprinklin'! (optional)

9x13 baking dish (use an 8x8 if doing a half batch!)
parchment paper
silicone spatula (or two)
2 medium kitchen bowls (atleast one should be microwave safe)
1 small microwave safe bowl

//how to//
Line your baking dish with parchment paper, leaving extra hanging over the edge. In a medium bowl, mix together cereal and protein powder. In a microwave safe bowl, or in a saucepan on the stove, mix together PB, rice syrup, and salt. Heat and whisk until completely mixed. Pour PB mixture over cereal, and use a silicone spatula to mix and coat evenly. Quickly transfer mixture into your parchment-lined pan, and using your hands (slightly damp hands to avoid sticky icky) press cereal mix into pan, relieving yourself of any built up stress by pressing and mashing until flat, even, and gorgeous. In another microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate at 20 second intervals, stirring after each, until completely melted. Using a silicone spatula, spoon your melted chocolate heaven over your bars evenly, until completely covered. I like doing a verrrrry thin coating, so the cereal is just covered. Mo' chocoalte, mo' betta, so make your chocolate layer as thick as you wanna! Lastly, if you so prefer, sprinkle over the coarse sea salt sparingly, but evenly.
If you are impatient like me, place your pan in the freezer for quicker chocolate hardening.... Otherwise, the fridge will do! Once the chocolate has solidified, lift your bars out of the pan, holding onto the parchment paper, and onto a cutting board. Cut into 20 pieces, or more or less if you choose!

snack on, friends.

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