Full disclosure: I am a compulsive snacker. When I bring my lunch to work, I also have a snack for mid-morning, a snack to go along with my sandwich/salad/entrée du jour, and a snack for that 4 p.m. hour when it’s not quite time to go home yet but my tummy’s getting rumbly.
The result? I’m constantly looking for new snack foods to mix up my day. Since I know I am what those nutrition people call a “grazer,” I try to be conscious of at least making sure what I’m grazing on is healthy, especially because I’m doing it so often. I love fresh fruit—apples and grapes especially are my go-tos for wash-and-pack, and now that strawberries and watermelon are in season, they’ve entered the rotation as well. I’ll often throw in a carton of yogurt or some baby carrot sticks with peanut butter for something more protein-heavy to get me through the long morning.
You know what I really like, though? Granola. Toasty and nutty and salty and sweet. It actually kind of dismays me that so many “granola bars” I used to buy actually have a lot of scary unreadable ingredients on their product labels—something tells me that ingesting a bunch of carrageenan and zinc oxide (isn’t that the stuff they make you put on your nose when you get sun poisoning?) kind of outweighs the oats and grains and stuff.
Which is why I was really excited when Maria at Two Peas and Their Pod wrote this post about Peanut Butter Granola Balls! (If you haven’t been over to Maria’s blog yet, you’ve definitely got to check it out. In addition to the tons of non-scary, beginner-friendly recipes [always good for me!], her dedication to family and loved ones shines through in everything she writes and prepares.)
The yield of a recipe is always a concern for me. Maria’s recipe made about 24 granola balls—more than I could eat in two weeks, probably—so I scaled down her proportions a lot. I also made a bunch of swaps based on what I had in my pantry, so I can assure you that this is definitely a great mix-and-match recipe.
Peanut Butter Cereal Bites
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 (generous) tbsp honey
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup Oat Cluster Cheerios Crunch (my current favorite variation—great with strawberries, fyi)
Handful of raisins
Handful (plus a few for you) semisweet chocolate chips
Cupcake wrappers (for the finished cereal balls to set)
1. In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt butter, peanut butter, and honey together. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
2. Remove from heat and let cool for about 2 minutes.
3. While the sticky mixture is still pliable but not pipin’ hot, stir in oats, Cheerios, and raisins.
4. Let mixture cool for about 3 more minutes. Then stir in chocolate chips. (Wait a little bit longer if you don’t want them to melt as much.)
5. Drop heaping spoonfuls of your warm mix into cupcake wrappers and arrange on a plate or small tray. Place in the fridge until cool and set, about 15-20 minutes.
Makes about 5 cereal bites (mine are the size of ping-pong balls).
I think this recipe would be absolutely crazy good swapping Nutella for peanut butter—I unfortunately didn’t have any of that chocolate hazelnutty goodness on hand today, but it’s definitely on my to-do list. Adding almonds or walnuts might be fun too! Let me know what your favorite flavor combos are if you give this a try. 🙂
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