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This is a chewy, delicious snack bar that packs in a bit of nutrition. What’s important in the recipe is: first, to get the syrup good and hot before adding it to the cereal; second to stir it together very quickly so that the syrup coats the dry bits before it starts to cool; and third to press the mixture very firmly into the pan so the bars hold together well.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Spread oats in the bottom of a 9×9-inch rimmed baking pan and toast in the oven until fragrant and lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
While the oats are browning, put the Cheerios, chocolate chips, peanuts, and raisins into a large bowl. Set aside.
Pour the brown rice syrup, brown sugar, and peanut butter into a small, heavy pot and warm over medium heat to dissolve the sugar and melt the ingredients together. Heat until it’s a thin, smooth syrup, stirring occasionally. Once the ingredients are melted, stir in the vanilla.
When the oats are done, remove them from oven and add them to the bowl with the Cheerios mixture. Mix well.
Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pan that you cooked the oats in.
Drizzle the hot syrup over the cereal mixture and use a wooden spoon to quickly work the ingredients together so it is one, uniform lump, with no dry bits left out.
Put it immediately into the greased baking pan and use the spoon to press it down very firmly, filling out the entire pan. Once the mixture has cooled enough to touch, use your hands to press down on the mixture further until it is one solid, uniform block.
Leave it to cool for 30 minutes. Then, invert the bars out of the pan onto a cutting board. Turn it right-side up, and cut it into 25 bars.
Store in an airtight container.
Adapted from a recipe for Banana Nut Energy Bars by the folks at Cheerios.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!