Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fake Peanut Butter Puffed Wheat Squares

My goal for this school year has been to make more homemade snacks for the kids lunches/babysitting at the gym/etc. As much as I love to cook, I do find that those little packaged cookies and granola bars are so tempting for the convenience and I've got to put a stop to both my and the kids' addiction to them. As most foodie moms know, school snacks can be a challenge, in a large part due to the strict no nuts policies that most schools have these days.

I found a recipe in an old issue of Everyday Food for Chocolate Peanut Cereal Bars and I adapted the heck out of it to make something that was less junky and also peanut-free. The result: Fake Peanut Butter Puffed Wheat Squares. Now, these are not "health food" by any stretch of the imagination, but I know exactly what's in them, I know they're peanut-free, and I know they're delicious, which is more than I can say for a pre-wrapped bag of cookies.

Oh, and my kids love them and actually eat them. Which, as any parent can tell you, is a major victory.

Fake Peanut Butter Puffed Wheat Squares:


Cooking Spray and parchment paper
8 cups puffed wheat
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 3/4 cups mini marshmallows (roughly 1 bag)
3/4 cups fake peanut butter (we used soy butter, but pea butter would work too, or if you're not taking them out of the house, feel free to go crazy and use peanut or another nut butter)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Coat an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper (this will make it easy to remove the squares once they're set). In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat and add the marshmallows, fake peanut butter, and salt. Stir over heat until the marshmallow have melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

Pour the puffed wheat into a large bowl and dump in the melted marshmallow mixture. At this point the marshmallows should be slightly cooled, but still pliable. Stir in the chocolate chips. Depending on how warm the marshmallows still are, the chips may melt a bit, which is okay. If you want the chips to stay in tact, let the mixture cool a bit, but be aware that it may be harder to mix.

Press mixture into the pan and let sit for about 30 minutes, until it is set and solid. If it is still too gooey to cut, let it sit longer, or refrigerate until it gets a bit harder. Lift the parchment out of the pan, cut up the bars or squares, and enjoy!