This is my Cheerios Story. What’s yours?
I was born in Northern California, the first child of fresh newlyweds. My mom a housewife, my dad a first year law school student. Every morning of first semester, dad says, I’d rustle awake as he was heading out to early classes. Having been up with me all night, my exhausted mom would beg for a few more moments of sleep. So dad would take my pajama-clad little self, slide chenille-footied feet into my clackety metal high chair, fill the tray with two giant handfuls of Cheerios, and tune the TV to Sesame Street. He’d slip out the door and there I’d sit, contentedly nibbling on cereal until my mama was ready to wake.
Like a lot of adults, I rarely sit down to a bowl of cereal anymore—energy bars have become my go-to for early morning breakfasting. But with so many of my favorite kid memories filled with Cheerios, I wanted to find some grown-up ways to enjoy them, too.
Good news for you. And me. And both of us. Because after three days of testing, trying, tossing batches and going at it all over again, I’ve perfected three all-new yummos that bring Cheerios into the modern age of DIY snacking.
Here’s what happened.
Salted Chocolate-Browned Butter Mallow Bars
When I hit the grocery store for no-fail snacking inspo, it came in the form of salted, browned butter marshmallow filling. Stirred together with crunchy sliced almonds and Cheerios. This combo proved inspired to the max. The mallow filling goos around the edges of the pan, so every bar is this amazing combo of crunch and chew. Topped off with SALTED.CHOCOLATE. and these bars literally became the love of my life.
We initially cut them into 3” bars, exactly perfect as an after-dinner nom. When a few friends stopped by, I took the extras and cut them into one-bite 1” squares, perfect for popping into our gourds with a side of Stout. Seriously. That happened. And the world stopped for 81 seconds of bliss.
Milk and Strawberry Cereal Bites
I mentioned above that I don’t grab a bowl and dish into cereal much anymore. Partly because I always forget to buy milk, and secondly because I rarely eat breakfast, since mornings can be a frantic mess of coffee making, kid packing and Facebook checking. (In leiu of nutrition, I scroll thorugh social? Yes I do, and it’s not a proud thing.) To remedy this clearly naughty morning habit, I combined the tastes of milk and cereal into one sweet little snackable.
In this recipe, mildly sweet almond butter pairs with brown rice syrup (feel free to use honey, if you please), tangy freeze-dried strawberries and Cheerios cereal. Once mixed, the mixture is pressed into a mini muffin tin, creating pinchable little bites. Which are dipped in a Greek yogurt coating before being tossed in the air and caught between smiling teeth.
(And no, teeth don’t smile, but go with it. Because, smiling will happen with this sweet cereal treat.)
Cheerios Peanut Butter Protein Bites
And while I’d hate for the other recipes to hear [voice lowers to a whisper], I’ve saved the best for last. Humans of my heart and my internet, we could not stop eating these bars. They’re not even baked. Just a bunch of ingredients stirred together, shoved into a pan, refrigerated until firm, then sliced into the most can’t-stop-won’t-stop crunchies. My boyfriend took to hiding a stash of these bars in the back of his desk, just so he could have quick access at a moment’s notice.
They’re that good. Plus, there is protein powder hidden inside. And peanut butter. And honey. And coconutcoconutcoconut. And life. And also, Cheerios.
Because really. What is life without Cheerios?