Mom’s Special K-Bars, well kind of. These are the healthier version, but they’re actually so much more delicious. Think crisp, chewy, sweet, and peanutty cereal base topped with semi-sweet salted chocolate. All made with simple, wholesome ingredients: organic corn flakes, honey, pure maple syrup, natural peanut butter, chia seeds, vanilla, and dark chocolate. These bars are heavy on the peanut butter and chocolate, with a nice salty-sweet combo. They’re also gluten-free, vegetarian, and even no-bake too! Every last bite is truly delicious.
Anyone whose known my mom over the last 30 years knows about her K-bars. They’re everyone’s favorite dessert. Chocolate peanut butter chewy goodness. Yes, my mom was known for these bars. Especially in the summer because she’d make them for all the birthday parties, family dinners, and every last summer picnic.
Her bars were very retro, old school, and oh, my gosh, very addicting. Actually, now that I think about it, they really weren’t her bars, my Nonnie used to make them too. Ask any of my older siblings, k-bars and chocolate chip cookies were part of the weekly rotation of sweets back when we lived in Cleveland.
We all loved them.
The weird thing is that once we moved to Colorado, they just never tasted quite the same. Still good, but almost dry and just not as special. Slowly she stopped making them and when we all started to cut down more on the use of sugar, we kind of cut these out.
But I’m here to announce that they are back, and quite possibly better than ever.
The details are extra, extra simple
I used the very same process as my mom, I just used better-for-you ingredients.
The first step, grab some corn flakes. Use gluten-free if needed. I get mine at Whole Foods or there’s a Thrive Market link to some in the recipe. Add the corn flakes, ground chia seeds, and natural creamy peanut butter to a super large bowl. The ground chia seeds are totally optional, but they add a nice vanilla flavor and additional health benefits (healthy omegas and lots of fiber).
Then, boil together some honey and maple syrup. I use honey + maple in place of the white sugar and Karo syrup that mom’s original recipe calls for. Boil the mix for 2 minutes, then pour over the bowl full of cereal and peanut butter. Mix everything together until all is evenly coated.
Spread the mix out into a baking dish, then throw it in the fridge while you melt the chocolate.
For the peanut butter – simply use peanut butter. As in just peanuts and sea salt. No Jiff or any other kinds of no-stir peanut butter that contains oil and/or sugar. You just want a natural peanut butter. This will give you the best flavor and texture.
But I mean, of course, if all you have is Jiff or Skippy, it all works!
Finish them up
Melt the chocolate with a little peanut butter to keep the chocolate from getting too hard. Then spread the mix out over the peanut cereal layer.
And then you’re done. And trust me, you might want to double the batch because these disappear fast. Everyone from my mom and dad to (very picky) Asher is obsessed with these. Asher has asked me to make them twice this week alone.
Lastly, if you’re wondering why they’re called Special K-Bars? It’s because back when my Nonnie used to make them she used Special K cereal. Over the years my mom switched to corn flakes. They really are a family favorite. It’s that combination of chewy, salty, sweet, chocolate, and peanut butter. It’s magically delicious!
Looking for easy summer desserts? Here are a few ideas:
Lastly, if you make my Mom’s Special K-Bars, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Mom’s Special K-Bars
Servings: 24 bars
Calories Per Serving: 215 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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1. Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. 2. In a large bowl, combine the corn flakes, chia seeds (if using), and 1 cup peanut butter.3. In a pot, combine the honey, maple syrup, and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and pour the mix into the corn flake/peanut butter bowl and stir well. Spread the mixture out onto the prepared pan, packing it in tightly. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, melt together the chocolate and 1/4 cup peanut butter in the microwave. Spread the chocolate over the corn flake mix. Return to the fridge to set, about 15 minutes, then slice. The chocolate will not be totally set, but slicing is easier this way. Keep in the fridge.