Homemade Cereal Bars
These were my FAVORITE snack when I was a kid, although I’m using the term “kid” very loosely since I definitely remember asking my mom to bake a batch or two when I was in high school. The wheat germ makes them sweet and nutty and incredibly satisfying and the shape is fast-moving toddler friendly. They aren’t exactly healthy – hellooooo butter and sugar – but they’re definitely better than a store bought snack, if only because you know exactly what’s in them and can avoid preservatives and high fructose corn syrup. It’s also a SUPER easy recipe to adapt – use gluten-free flour, add chopped nuts or dried fruit, substitute the vanilla for almond flavoring or use rolled oats or Grape Nuts instead of the wheat germ.
The original recipe comes from my very well used copy of “Feed Me! I’m Yours” by Vicki Lansky the “New and Revised” edition…published in 1974. Some of the food suggestions seem a little outdated (Chicken Liver Special? Vegetable Egg Yolk Custard?) but the book is charming and the recipes for homemade, healthier versions of everything from brownies to edible paste are great. (As a bonus, it has TONS of other advice on everything from entertaining your child while you’re trying to cook dinner – ice cube in a cup – to the dangers of children’s birthday parties – little girls catching their hair on fire and kids running with straws and lollipops.) It may be worth trying to track down an original copy although the new and revised version from 2004 might be just as charming.
Homemade Cereal Bars
Adapted from Feed Me! I’m Yours 1974 edition
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup white flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup wheat germ (other options: Grape nuts, granola, rolled oats) plus another 1/3 cup for rolling
Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a mixer. Add wheat flour first, then add 1 cup white flour. Mix in baking soda & 1/3 cup wheat germ. Check your dough for stickiness – if it seems too soft add the rest of the white flour, a little more wheat flour or more wheat germ until it’s the right consistence for shaping (you want it just a little less sticky than cookie dough).
Take a small piece of dough and roll it into a snake – if you have anyone around with play dough experience they can definitely help with this part! Then roll the snake in the extra 1/3 cup of wheat germ and place it on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of your bars. The edges will be slightly brown.
Give them a minute to cool, pop them off the cookie sheet and enjoy. They keep pretty well in an air-tight container or zip-lock bag for up to a week and will stay edible all day in a snack bag or car seat cup holder.
Baby Evan approved!