American parents of elementary school-aged children will know the play on words in the title — “Handwriting without tears” is the name of the workbook that kids use to hone their printing and cursive skills. These workbooks were designed by a teacher who had kids in her class that refused to write because they found the pencil hold too cumbersome. Or something. So she devised these lined workbooks and suddenly the kids stopped weeping.
I wouldn’t exactly say I devised these snack bars, but they are so simple and versatile that there were definitely no tears involved in getting these together. They are inspired by a lot of recipes for “cereal snack bars” Mr. Google threw at me, but I didn’t copy any one recipe’s ingredients or measurements.
I’ve heard that there are two types of cooks — those that go by the book, collect ingredients before they get down to the recipe, and those that loosely follow the basic constructs of food behaviour, fly by the seat of their pants in the kitchen. I started being the former but have gradually migrated to the other side. These cereal bars are the perfect example — I didn’t have peanut butter so I made some cashew butter of my own to substitute; figs for dates, puffed rice for crispy rice cereal. I had ingredients that were waiting to be used so I eyeballed the rest and ended up with super-easy, beginner no-bake snack bars packed with taste and nutrition. I’m going to provide approximations of amounts that I used, but these seem pretty no-fail, so if you try them, just go with your tastes and you should be fine.
Easy, No-bake Cereal Bars
Yield: About 20 bite-sized squares or 10 large bars
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup plain puffed rice
1/4 cup honey bunches of oats (or any other slightly sweetened breakfast cereal)
1/4 cup cashew butter/paste (homemade or store-bought)
1/4 cup honey (I used buckwheat)
4-5 dried figlets (figlets are smaller than regular figs, and sweeter)
1/4 cup walnuts
handful almonds (whole or crushed, your choice)
- Lightly toast oats and puffed rice in the oven. Transfer to a mixing bowl when cool. Add breakfast cereal. Set aside.
- Pulse walnuts, figlets and almonds in a blender until coarsely ground. Add to cereal mixture.
- On a low flame mix honey and cashew paste and stir until it becomes a thick, pourable liquid.
- Pour liquid into dry mix and lightly toss with a spatula to coat all dry ingredients.
- Line a shallow baking dish with cling film or parchment paper and press down the bar mixture with hands into a uniform layer about 3/4inch thick.
- Cover the surface of the dish with cling wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.
- Cut into bars when cold. Store in the fridge on parchment sheets to prevent sticking to each other.
These bars are light, moist, lightly sweet and delicious! I just ate an oh-so-yummy square with my evening tea, and I can see how it’s such a convenient grab-and-go breakfast for those rushed mornings.
Give them a try. They’re fun to make and brag-worthy. Just like you. 😉