My kiddos (and their parents, honestly) love snacks. Yet, I am somehow always surprised at how quickly they go through the snacks I buy when we go grocery shopping! It shouldn't come as a shock, since with most boxes containing 6-8 snacks even if they only ate one per day that's only two days' worth. I try to compensate by buying a variety of options and making homemade treats to enjoy as well. Typically, my kids have fresh and canned fruit, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, granola bars, cereal bars, raisins, and various other options from which to choose. They ask, on average, seventeen times a day if they can have a snack, though they're limited to two in-between meals treats, usually at 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
The recipe I'm sharing with you today is one I've made many times, and it's one of our absolute favorite treats. I'm not sure how much cheaper it is than store-bought, but these cereal bars are definitely better for them and much tastier! I adapted my version from this recipe for Homemade Cereal Bar Cookies.
Fruit and Cereal Bars
1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup flaxseed*
1/4 cup wheat germ*
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup jam or jelly or preserves or apple butter
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9x13 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. In a food processor, combine the dry ingredients and blend until well combined. Toss in 1/2 of the butter and pulse until coarse crumbs begin to form. Add in the rest of the butter and the vanilla and pulse until well combined. Pour half of the mixture into the prepared pan and press down firmly and evenly, all the way to the edges. Gently spread the jam over the top, leaving a border of about an inch all around. Carefully sprinkle the remaining cereal mixture over the jam, making sure to cover it well. Press down firmly but gently all the way to the edges. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and the edge is slightly darker. (They will firm up some as they cool.) Allow to cool in the pan for at least an hour. When cool to the touch, transfer the bars (using the foil to lift them) to a cutting board. Cut into 16 bars and store in an air-tight container in the fridge. They can also be frozen - just thaw them slowly in the fridge overnight.
* You can leave these two things out and simply increase the oats by 1/2 cup.