Special K Bars


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This recipe takes me back to my childhood.  But it almost didn’t happen.

Special K Bars cut in pan

It’s from my grandma and she never measured anything, never wrote anything down, and many of her recipes died with her.
Close up of one Special K Bar
Thankfully, my mom had it because she also used to make these for me when I was growing up.
Stacked Special K Bars
These bars are rich, sweet, peanut buttery, caramely, and just plain amazing.
You’re going to thank my Grandma for these.

Overhead cut Special K Bars


Grandma D’s Special K Bars

1/2 c Butter (or margarine), i.e. 1 stick
1 c Karo Syrup
1 c Brown Sugar
Pinch Salt
Bring to a boil and boil for 3 Minutes

Then add 1/2 c Peanut Butter
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract & Stir

In a large bowl, pour this mixture over 6 c of Special K cereal (5 c if you want the bars more gooey) & stir

Pour cereal mixture into a sprayed 9 x 13 pan and press mixture down well.  Freeze or refrigerate if the house is warm and you need these to set up fast, otherwise the counter top is fine.

Optional:  Frosting
I like my Vegan Chocolate Frosting
Or you can use my Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Frosting
Or use store bought or omit frosting.

Pictures of the process

Ingredients needed to make Special K Bars
Pan with butter, brown sugar and Karo Syrup
Boil for 3 minutes.  Do not walk away.  You can have a hot mess everywhere, fast.  
Melted butter, brown sugar and syrup bubbling
Add PB
Jar of peanut butter
Scoop of peanut butter being added to butter mixture
Add Vanilla Extract.  Try not to drink this mixture.  It’s insanely good smelling.  And phenomenal tasting.
Vanilla added to mixture
Special K Cereal in bowl
Pour Mixture over Special K & Stir to Combine
Liquid mixture added to cereal and stirred up
Press into pan
Special K Bars pressed into pan
Close up of bars pressed in pan

Now Make Frosting!
Vegan Chocolate Frosting
Or try Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Frosting

I made Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate chips in bowl
Melted chocolate chips being stirred
Adding butter (margarine) + powdered sugar after the chocolate is melted makes the best frosting I think.
Butter being added to melted chocolate
Powdered sugar added to chocolate mixture
Frosting spread over Special K Bars
Close up of Special K Bars
I popped the pan (above) into the freezer and waited.  As patiently as I could.

After taking it out of the freezer and scoring it, here was what I had been waiting my adult lifetime for

Cut Special K Bars in pan
Close up of one frosted Special K Bar
The gooey, caramel-ey factor is in full force.
Those are strings of sugar.  The happy work of Karo Syrup + Brown Sugar
Stacked Special K Bars
Overhead of Special K Bars
And the underside is pure heaven.  Peanut Butter + Brown Sugar + Karo Syrup + Vanilla
Underside of bars
And the top side is Chocolate.  The best of both worlds!
Three stacked Special K Bars
Close up of one stacked Special K Bar
Cut bars in pan
Close up stacked Special K Bars

Please let me know if you make these.  My Grandma would be thrilled.  She would literally say the Rosary if she only knew that I am sharing this recipe of hers.

From my last post, thanks for filling me in on if you like Posts that have Tips included.  Most everyone said yes please.  Like my French Press Coffee tips to Free Book Tips from this morning.

And thanks for filling me in on things you’d like me to write about in the future.  It’s nice to know what you find interesting and want to see more of.

Speaking of Tips: My Case of Coconut Water Give Away for 3 Winners!

Coconut waters
Click Here to Enter Now!

Similar Desserts to today’s recipe that you may enjoy…
1. Vegan Gluten Free Rice Krispie Treats with Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Overhead of cut Vegan Gluten Free Rice Krispie Treats with Vegan Chocolate Frosting
Cut Vegan Gluten Free Rice Krispie Treats with Vegan Chocolate Frosting in pan
Three stacked GF Vegan "Rice Krispie" Treats with Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Frosting
Close up of stacked GF Vegan "Rice Krispie" Treats with Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Oil Frosting

3. GF Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars with Vegan Chocolate Frosting

One F Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars with Vegan Chocolate Frosting on plate
Hand holding one F Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars with Vegan Chocolate Frosting
Close up of one F Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bars with Vegan Chocolate Frosting

1. Do you have recipes from your childhood that you remember fondly?
I definitely have lots of them.

From my mom’s Broccoli Salad (yes, I loved broccoli as a kid and still do.  Raw Broccoli Salad & Broccoli Slaw Dressing is a staple for me) to my Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies (no one makes them like Grandma!) to all the holiday recipes and baking I used to help my mom and grandma with in the kitchen.  It all makes me smile so much when I think back!

2. Do you have grandmas, aunts, your mother, or people in your family who cook without recipes or who don’t write things down?
I admit I usually don’t follow recipes.  Heck, I hardly make the same thing twice, even within my own arsenal of recipes.  And sometimes don’t even follow my own recipe if I make something a second time.  I am the queen of winging it.

The pitfall of course is that everything is stored upstairs.  Gray matter.  Nothing is written down on paper.

But that’s the beauty of my blog.  Everything is written here.

One of my goals is to have my blog turned into a book(s), just for myself and Skylar.   (google “Blog into Book” and tons of sites do this)

I want Skylar to have all these pictures of herself in book form.  And it will be fun when I’m 80 to look back and see what I was cooking when I was in my 30s.  The only way to ensure that is to have my blog bound into a book.

But I encourage you to urge, beg, and plead those elderly aunts, grandmas, and relatives who cook without writing things down, go sit with them and take notes as they dictate recipes.  I wish to God I had.

3. Are there things that no one else but a certain relative makes that no matter how many times you try, it’s just not the same as theirs?
My Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.  No one can get them like hers.  

As well as her homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, and all her Polish and Russian Soul Food.  No one whips up pierogies and Russian Tea Cakes like Grandma could.

See you tomorrow!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.


  1. Ok… I just made these with a box of “let’s back off the sweets” total cereal. There amazing! Just like your pictures! Very few deserts come out just like pictured! Thank you for bringing back the sweets! ;)

    1. I love these bars and the post is older and I am so glad you made them, enjoyed them, and they came out just like the photos!

  2. My mother makes a similar thing (which is actually her mother’s recipe, too!): 2 cups each Karo, peanut butter, and sugar melted together and then stirred with a box of Rice Krispies, pressed into two 9×13 pans, and finished with melted chocolate chips spread across the top. So simple, so delicious!

    So yours is basically a less peanut buttery version of the bars my mother makes. I made your version just now, and it was great! I admit I still prefer my mother’s with the stronger pb flavor, but my goodness, this version’s caramelish pb mixture you have before adding to the cereal? Amazing. After finishing the bars, I went and used my finger to scoop out some from the bottom of the pot, and it is delicious and has the most beautiful consistency, a sort of soft malleable caramel. I don’t know if the sugars actually caramelized during the three minutes of boiling (I’ve made caramel on the stovetop and it takes longer than that), but that’s what it seemed like! :D Yum.

    1. this version’s caramelish pb mixture you have before adding to the cereal? Amazing. = agreed!
      a sort of soft malleable caramel = I know, very cool, right :)

      https://www.averiecooks.com/2013/06/chewy-peanut-butter-and-chocolate-cereal-bars.html – what you described about your mom’s sounds like these, and the rest of the links are all very similar versions on a theme. I have SO MANY PB cereal bars, and also in my cookbook that’s 100 PB recipes, even more https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1620876213/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1620876213&linkCode=as2&tag=lovvegyogruna-20

      1. Yeah, that first link does seem similar! I got to try that one sometime. :D

  3. I made your Special K bars throughout my whole pregnancy last summer! They were all I wanted! I brought them on a family vacation, and they were a huge hit! I’m about to make them for some friends who just had a baby and anoyhernwhobisbhaving surgery and you can bet that I will be saving some for myself! :)

    Thanks to you and your grandma for sharing your recipe!!!

  4. Dangerous. Glad I made them for some new neighbors. Good golly. I think these are a definite improvement on one of my husband’s top 5 goodies, known as peanut butter cornflake balls, which are made with white sugar and rolled into balls. I like these mucho bettero. Thank you!!

    1. So glad you loved these – I do too. They’re from my childhood, and will always love them.

      peanut butter cornflake balls = I have something sort of like that that I put in my cookbook! But they’re bars, not balls. Dangerous.

      And now you have to try these – possibly the best yet :)

      Or same thing, but with marshmallows

      1. I liked the second one a lot, and for as much as he said he wasn’t a fan (Mr. Not-a-fan-of-change) he sure helped me and the girls devour them. The entire pan. That very night. Yeah. Apparently they were good or something?

        I’m looking forward to trying the first one. It’s on my list to make next! I am really hoping to convince to let us get your cookbook!

      2. Well the book is only about $12 bucks so hopefully that’s not the issue! If you like these kind of recipes, you are going to LOVE the book. There’s tons of things like this in it! A whole chapter on no-bake bars, most of them cereal bars!

        And that’s too funny about ‘not a huge fan’, but…eats the whole pan, that night. :) Ahhh, gotta love it. My hubs says the same thing about certain things I make. And then eats the whole thing! lol