No-Bake Triple Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chewy Cereal Bars
I love soft, dense, really chewy peanut butter cereal bars.
To the point these bars are having a case of de ja vu.
I keep recreating versions on a theme because remaking the exact same thing doesn’t make for good food blog material, but adaptations, twists, and tweaks are fair game.
I made them in Aruba and as long as your house isn’t 89F, they won’t be quite as soft and melt-prone as mine.
You can whip them up in 15 minutes in one bowl. I love fast, easy, no-bake desserts that deliver big time flavor.
These just happen to be vegan and gluten-free.
There’s no butter used in these very buttery tasting bars. But there is peanut butter used three times.
It’s used in the saucy mixture that holds the bars together, it’s melted with chocolate chips to create a chocolate-peanut butter fudgy topping, and it’s swirled into said topping.
Did I mention I wrote a cookbook with 100 peanut butter recipes? I can never have too much peanut butter, so three times in one recipe isn’t even over the top.
Corn flakes give the bars their shape and form, and Kellogg’s brand is accidentally vegan. Erewhon flakes are vegan and gluten-free. There are so many brands of corn flakes and many will likely be both vegan and gluten-free, but make sure to read labels.
The bars taste nothing like corn flakes, which I equate to the boring, bland, sog-prone cereal I grew up with. Just as Rice Krispies cereal and Browned Butter Rice Krispies Treats taste nothing alike, these bars are even less reminiscent of corn flakes than RKTs are of Rice Krispies.
The corn flakes soften enough to become packed down into the pan to create the bars, but retain tons of chewy, dense texture to give your jaw a workout. Nothing soggy about these flakes.
The peanut butter flavor is strong and robust, and because it’s mixed and melted together with brown sugar and vanilla, the bars have caramel undertones, which I love.
The chocolate-peanut butter fudgy topping adds just the right amount of chocolate to balance and complement the peanut butter. Peanut butter is so much better when chocolate is involved.
Definitely the best that corn flakes have ever tasted.
No-Bake Triple Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chewy Cereal Bars (vegan, gluten-free)
These easy, no-bake bars are made in one bowl in minutes, and they’re vegan and gluten-free. Peanut butter is used 3 times in the recipe, and the peanut butter flavor is strong and robust. Because it’s mixed and melted together with brown sugar and vanilla, the bars have a caramel undertone. They’re soft, moist, gooey, and very chewy. Although they’re made using corn flakes, the bars taste nothing like the bland cereal you’re used to. This is the best corn flakes have ever tasted.
1 heaping cup creamy peanut butter (don’t use natural or homemade, it’s too runny to glue the cereal together)
1/2 cup light corn syrup (light colored, not lite)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups corn flakes cereal
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Swirled Topping
1/2 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/4 heaping cup creamy peanut butter, melted with the chocolate
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, for swirling on top
- Bars – Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 heaping cup peanut butter, corn syrup, sugars, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt.
- Stop to stir. Mixture will be on the granular side, this is okay.
- Return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 more minute on high power.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- Stir in the cereal.
- Turn mixture out into prepared pan, packing it down somewhat firmly with a spatula and smoothing the top; set pan aside.
- Chocolate-Peanut Butter Swirled Topping – In a large microwave-safe bowl (the same one is fine, no need to wash it provided you scraped it with a spatula fairly clean) combine chocolate chips, heaping 1/4 cup peanut butter, and heat on high power for 1 minute to melt.
- Stop to stir. Chips may not be completely melted. Return bowl to microwave and heat in 10 to 15-second bursts until mixture can be stirred smooth.
- Pour chocolate mixture over bars, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula or knife; set aside.
- Add 1/4 cup peanut butter to a small microwave-safe bowl and heat to melt, about 30 seconds. Stir peanut butter smooth.
- Evenly drizzle peanut butter over the chocolate and swirl it lightly with the tip of a knife or toothipick. To create the marbled pattern shown, drizzle peanut butter over the chocolate in 5 wide, evenly spaced, parallel lines, each spanning the width of the pan. Like 5 rows of long train tracks.
- Rotate pan 90-degrees. With a toothpick, starting at the top of the pan, “draw” 5 evenly spaced lines through the peanut butter. You’re dragging the toothpick perpendicularly through the first set of lines to create the pattern.
- Cover pan with a sheet of foil (to prevent fridge smells), and place pan in fridge to set up for at least 2 to 3 hours, or overnight, or until chocolate layer is completely set before lifting out with foil overhang, slicing, and serving.
- Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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Chewy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cereal Bars (no-bake, vegan, gluten-free)
No-Bake Peanut Butter Marshmallow Cereal Bars (gluten-free)
Peanut Chewy Payday Bars (almost no-bake)
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (no-bake, vegan, GF)
Browned Butter Rice Krispies Treats – The best RKTs I have ever had. Double the butter and it’s browned, for great flavor and soft, buttery, chewy bars
Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars (almost no-bake)
What’s one of your favorite recipes that you make over and over or like to adapt?