Peanut Butter Squares!

IMG_0046 For over a week now, I've had this atrocious stomach/intestinal bug that's made eating pretty much an impossibility. So naturally, this is when I started craving some good, old fashioned peanut butter cereal squares.

My mom used to make these for me when I was growing up and they've always been a favorite of mine. I'm a peanut butter fan and will consume all things peanut buttery, but this particular treat has always been at the top of my list. Just a lot of good memories of chowing down on these as an after-school treat, and there's a certain warmth these squares fill me with. These treats are a really nice, rustic bit of home baking (well, no-baking really), and the recipe is highly fool proof.

[Insert your obligatory image of a caveman here.]

Normally these are made with corn flakes cereal, but Meijer was out of stock. In all of my 36 years, I don't think I've ever seen a grocery store run out of corn flakes, so I was a bit taken aback by this peculiar bit of strangeness. How the hell does a supermarket become emptied out of corn flakes on your regular, average, non-Apocalyptic Sunday? My wife suggested using Special K instead, which is a rice cereal.

Corn flakes, though, are the traditional way to go and they provide a particular flavor that meshes very well with peanut butter. That said, I was a bit surprised at how well the rice cereal worked. The texture is pretty equivalent and you still get that nice bit of crunch, but the flavor is actually not too far off the mark. Perhaps one day, in search of a definitive answer to which is better, I may have to embark on an epic taste testing. Until then, I'm giving Special K my seal of approval here. Special K - kudos for being a decent substitute in a pinch!

Here's how you make this: take 1 cup of corn syrup and 1 cup of white sugar, mix, and heat to a boil. Once that's going, scoop in 1 cup of smooth peanut butter and stir until you get a nice, smooth, creamy liquid. Then pour that over about 8 cups of cereal and stir it up nice and good. Toss that mix into either a buttered baking dish or line it with parchment paper (I went with parchment), smooth it out and let it cool.

That's it. See, I told you it was simple!

It's been a long time since I've made these and I forgot about short the peanut butter mix seems to run. Next time I'll up the amount of corn syrup and peanut butter to maybe 1 1/4 cup each and knock off a cup of cereal. That should make for a more even, gooier peanut butter bar. You could also throw in some chocolate chips if you wanted, which I meant to do, but I was making these at six a.m. and my sleep-addled brain forgot about that. Maybe later I'll put some nutella on one, because I'm sure that's awesome, too.

Once they've cooled, cut them up in square and go nuts!

Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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