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Binding Cereal Bars


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That box of unopened Cheerios on the counter beckons. I love Cheerios because their whole-wheat flavor and don't taste like powdered sugar. I hate sweet breakfast cereals. Sadly, I don't have the time in the morning to even pour milk into a bowl and scarf it down. So, a portable alternative seemed a good way to go. Sadly, looking at the various cereal bars available in the market, I'd rather go hungry. The bars are tongue-numbingly sweet and it seems that the cereal even loses nutrition.

I figured that I should make my own bars. But here's where the trouble comes in. How can I bind them? The most popular way I've seen it done is with corn syrup/sugar milk, and butter, but I want to avoid the sweetness. Peanut butter seems to be the runner up, and I'm sure it would taste good, but can you imagine being on a train when the peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth - without anything to drink? I'd get plenty of stares. Is there any alternative to these methods? I don't mind a little bit of sweetness or butter, but I'd prefer not too much.

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Boy, there's a brain teaser. A binder that isn't too sweet. Gotta think about that.

I used to have the same problem as you. I LOVE cereal. All kinds. But I never had time for a

bowl because I slept til the last minute then had to rush to make my bus. What I did was buy

a lot of those 1/2 pint milks at the store, and then put my cereal in baggies. Before I rushed out the door, I'd grab my baggie and my milk. When I got on the bus, I'd eat a handful of cereal and wash it down with a gulp of milk. That was my commuter breakfast. Yum. :rolleyes:

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Boy, there's a brain teaser. A binder that isn't too sweet. Gotta think about that.

I used to have the same problem as you. I LOVE cereal. All kinds. But I never had time for a

bowl because I slept til the last minute then had to rush to make my bus. What I did was buy

a lot of those 1/2 pint milks at the store, and then put my cereal in baggies. Before I rushed out the door, I'd grab my baggie and my milk. When I got on the bus, I'd eat a handful of cereal and wash it down with a gulp of milk. That was my commuter breakfast. Yum.  :rolleyes:

Haha, I was considering that with a foodservice-type 1 cup capacity plastic container. But then it'd be pretty messy. I have to admit, your way seems more efficient. :biggrin:

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I have a recipe for a cereal bar that is bound with marshmallows like rice krispies treats, but there is so much other good stuff in there that they are not too sweet. I think you could also reduce the marshmallow mixture by 1/3 to 1/2 and still have them hold together. If you're interested, I can dig around for it. I haven't made them in a long time.

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Hm... Rice Krispies Treats. My school sells big bars of these for $1, and I've tried one, but it had this horrid burning sensation on the back of my throat and a funky aftertaste. It was the same when a friend of mine made some homemade ones. I think it was the marshmallows. I don't have a problem with marshmallow fluff though...

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Here's something I use that I'm sure you could play with to get the Cheerios in.

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c corn syrup

1/4 c butter

Melt together & boil one minute

1/4 c peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

Stir into hot mixture until smooth.

2-1/2 c rice krispies

2-1/2 c quick oats

Stir into mixture until combined.

I use this as a base for a peanut butter square in a 13x9"pan but if using alone you would probably want to press it into an 8x8"pan.

Edited by CanadianBakin' (log)

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Wull, this is my granola bar recipe - I doubt I've ever made it the same way twice - but these are the basics. Options are us :biggrin:

5 cups of a combination of oats, rice krispies, wheat germ, nuts, and optional coconut & fruit.

Like:

> one and a half cups oats

> one cup rice krispies

> a half cup wheat germ

> one cup nuts

> a half cup coconut

> a half cup chopped raisins or dates or apricots

(or like: 2.5 cups oats plus 1.5 cup rice krispies plus 1 cup nuts)

So whatever combination you come up with plus

> a half cup flour

> a quarter teaspoon salt

Then the wet stuff is

> a half cup sweetener - use all honey or equal parts honey & brown sugar (this is cutting back so it's less sweet for you - could be as much as two thirds cup)

> half cup of softened butter or scant half cup of oil or go half & half

> one tablespoon of molasses

> one teaspoon vanilla

The idea here is to rub this together really well. Kina mix the wet stuff & pour over the dry stuff* & rub it all together. Then wet hands with water & pack this into a greased 9x13 pan - bake like 325 degrees for 30 mins cut into bars - or or or you could use a bigger pan & spread it out & stir it and bake for like maybe 45 mins until nicely golden all over & just have granola rather than a bar.

I know you're going for less sweet but get the sweetened wheat germ - trust me on this one - the other stuff tastes like day-old cardboard even within the granola. Then the rolled or old-fashioned oats are better than the quick ones. And and and if you want, you could toast the oats first too if you wanted.

Like I said, I never made this the same way twice so I hope all the zillion choices doesn't detract. :rolleyes: You could even go with a quarter cup sweetener and taste it to see if you like it - I mean especially if you have the sweetened wheat germ and chopped fruit - a quarter or third cup sweetener would be cool.

*Wull, but add the rice krispies after the rubbing so you don't squish 'em all.

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I have a similar "recipe" I've been working on for some time. I basically wanted to create a portable oatmeal, since I love oatmeal so much, but rarely have time to make real oatmeal in the morning (actually, I'm just worthless in the morning and can never manage to get up early enough to do it). I have tried those "oatmeal squares" that claim to have an entire bowl of oatmeal in each square, but I have found them to have entirely too much sugar in them for my taste (or health). Plus, I'm certain they have instant oatmeal in them, and I'd prefer to use reguar rolled oats. So here's what I do:

Bake a good sized sweet potato. Scoop out the insides. Add as many oats as you can get in there. I like to toast the oats first, but that's a personal preference. I usually add an egg to aid in binding and allow me to add even more oats. You should be able to get at least 2 cups of oats in there. You don't have to add an egg, though. You could use egg subsitute or just leave it out. The texture will be different, though. I usually add a little brown sugar, but you could leave it out. I also add cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg to taste (in my case it would be a lot). I also like to add toasted walnuts for extra crunch and protein. One time I had some leftover Irish oatmeal (cooked), so I added some of that. If you use Irish Oatmeal, it must be cooked. I actually liked that version the best, but I don't always have leftover cooked Irish Oatmeal in the house when I'm making them. They still turn out fine without it. I shape them into cookies and bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. You definitely have to pat them down, because they will not spread on their own. I apologize that this is not more precise, but it is a work in progress. Basically, the point is that I'm using sweet potato and egg as a binder, instead of corn syrup or marshmallow. You could probably use cherrios in there somehow. I'm a cherrios fan myself. I just haven't worked on that yet. Let me know if you do.

When I eat these, I usually grap a paper towel, nuke the cookie (or two if I'm really hungry) for just a few seconds, and eat out of one hand while driving with another. I like them warm, but again, that is a personal preference.

"First rule in roadside beet sales, put the most attractive beets on top. The ones that make you pull the car over and go 'wow, I need this beet right now'. Those are the money beets." Dwight Schrute, The Office, Season 3, Product Recall

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I have a similar "recipe" I've been working on for some time. I basically wanted to create a portable oatmeal, since I love oatmeal so much, but rarely have time to make real oatmeal in the morning (actually, I'm just worthless in the morning and can never manage to get up early enough to do it). I have tried those "oatmeal squares" that claim to have an entire bowl of oatmeal in each square, but I have found them to have entirely too much sugar in them for my taste (or health).  Plus, I'm certain they have instant oatmeal in them, and I'd prefer to use reguar rolled oats. So here's what I do:

Bake a good sized sweet potato. Scoop out the insides.  Add as many oats as you can get in there.  I like to toast the oats first, but that's a personal preference.  I usually add an egg to aid in binding and allow me to add even more oats. You should be able to get at least 2 cups of oats in there. You don't have to add an egg, though. You could use egg subsitute or just leave it out. The texture will be different, though.  I usually add a little brown sugar, but you could leave it out. I also add cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg to taste (in my case it would be a lot).  I also like to add toasted walnuts for extra crunch and protein.  One time I had some leftover Irish oatmeal (cooked), so I added some of that.  If you use Irish Oatmeal, it must be cooked.  I actually liked that version the best, but I don't always have leftover cooked Irish Oatmeal in the house when I'm making them. They still turn out fine without it.  I shape them into cookies and bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. You definitely have to pat them down, because they will not spread on their own.  I apologize that this is not more precise, but it is a work in progress.  Basically, the point is that I'm using sweet potato and egg as a binder, instead of corn syrup or marshmallow. You could probably use cherrios in there somehow. I'm a cherrios fan myself. I just haven't worked on that yet. Let me know if you do. 

When I eat these, I usually grap a paper towel, nuke the cookie (or two if I'm really hungry) for just a few seconds, and eat out of one hand while driving with another.  I like them warm, but again, that is a personal preference.

Wow, that looks really interesting. Sweet potato as a binding agent. It must taste awesome. I should be getting a few sweet potatos this weekend. I'll definately have to try this. I'll see if I can find some wheat germ at my local hole in the wall health food store and try K8memphis' recipe out as well. Thanks a lot.

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Glad to help! I hope the recipe works out well for you. As I said, it's a work in progress, so if anyone has suggestions to improve the recipe, I'd love to hear them as well. :smile:

"First rule in roadside beet sales, put the most attractive beets on top. The ones that make you pull the car over and go 'wow, I need this beet right now'. Those are the money beets." Dwight Schrute, The Office, Season 3, Product Recall

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KatieM,

I made your sweet potato dealies - mmmm way good!! I used cooked, toasted oats & toasted walnuts - I did add like a small handfull of whole wheat flour like a third of a cup-ish - I used the egg - I used that vietnamese cinnamon - soo good! and and and I used the juice & zest of a lemon - oh and like a tablespoon of butta - like it mattered? I was gonna put a little more butta & I forgot - and like a coupla tablespoons of brown sugar and a tablespoon or so of honey and some salt.

Way good!! Really tasty!!! Thanks!!

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KatieM,

I made your sweet potato dealies - mmmm way good!! I used cooked, toasted oats & toasted walnuts - I did add like a small handfull of whole wheat flour like a third of a cup-ish - I used the egg - I used that vietnamese cinnamon - soo good! and and and I used the juice & zest of a lemon - oh and like a tablespoon of butta - like it mattered? I was gonna put a little more butta & I forgot - and like a coupla tablespoons of brown sugar and a tablespoon or so of honey and some salt.

Way good!! Really tasty!!! Thanks!!

K8memphis,

I'm glad you enjoyed the "sweet potato dealies"! Just one question for you, though: you said that you used cooked toasted oats. Do you mean that you dry toasted them and then cooked them with liquid? How was the texture of the end product? I suppose I should have clarified what I meant by oats a little more (gotta work on those recipe writing skills). I generally use dry-toasted, raw rolled oats. If I use Irish, or steel-cut oats, I use them cooked in liquid because they are too hard otherwise. I used the rolled oats raw for extra fiber, though I'm not sure that uncooked oats have any more fiber than cooked oats. It does, however, allow you to get a LOT more oats into the mixture. Think of the sweet potato as the cooking "liquid" I guess. I'm curious how yours turned out. I'm sure they were very yummy, especially with the Vietnamese cinnamon. Maybe I'll try it that way next time. In any case, I'm glad you enjoyed them!

Katie

"First rule in roadside beet sales, put the most attractive beets on top. The ones that make you pull the car over and go 'wow, I need this beet right now'. Those are the money beets." Dwight Schrute, The Office, Season 3, Product Recall

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Wull, I had never heard of Irish oats - I need to get out more I guess :rolleyes: - but I looked it up and so when I went to the health food store I got like the whooppee-est oats they had - they did not list the ethnicity but they were as far from quick oats as possible - much heartier than the Quaker old fashioned ones - so yes, I toasted those then cooked them gently & added that to the sweet potato.

Now mine came out like awesome sweet potato cookies - I probably could/should have added some more oats - but I think the egg is essential - ummm y'know what would be dynamite is chopped dried pineapple. But my end product texture was soft & very chewy - lots of walnuts.

Wull yah & my husband & kid liked 'em too - great for breakfast!! Good stuff!!

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Man, now I really want to try these. They sound so incredibly good. :wacko: Unfortunately, I've not been able to get any sweet potatoes as of yet, and I'm constantly busy one way or the other. I'll my hardest to get them this Saturday.

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