No-Bake M&M Pretzel Granola Bars
No-bake M&M pretzel granola bars are a delicious, simple snack, endlessly adaptable, and a great way to involve young kids in the kitchen!
Getting kids involved in the kitchen is great, no doubt about it. Obviously it’s good for them to help out and learn what goes into preparing the food that everyone eats.
What’s more, I’ve been consistently impressed by how much my son and his friends can do with basic instruction and supervision – even at two years old, I think most kids can help pour in ingredients, stir, whisk, etc.
For me, I’m sure it helps that my son was genuinely interested in what I do in the kitchen and in “play” cooking, right from the start. Even at his daycare and now preschool, they observe the same thing I do at home – his favorite things are the play kitchen, plus all the trucks. 🙂 And, lucky me, he’s the type to try earnestly not to make a mess – which helps a lot!
After all, look at all this goodness – M&Ms, rolled oats, Rice Krispies, and chopped up pretzels. We don’t want too much of that good stuff landing on the floor!
Still, there are limits to what I’m willing to attempt in the kitchen with him helping or near at hand. Because, let’s be honest, even if he is engaged in another toy or project, it’s only a matter of minutes until he appears with pleading eyes and says “do together, mama?”
So, easy recipes are the best. Easy no-bake recipes are even better.
Easy no-bake recipes with M&Ms, pretzels, and peanut butter? Better still.
This is such a sweet little project for you and your little, I just had to share it here, even though the recipe is SO simple. Since Valentine’s Day happens to be this week, and my mom was kind enough to send us a bag of red, pink, and white M&Ms (thanks, Mom!) we made this batch cutesy pink for the holiday.
Obviously, you could use regular multi-colored M&Ms or any other combo as you desire. Green and white for St. Patrick’s Day … red and green for Christmas … black and orange for Halloween … team colors for a post-game snack … you get the idea.
So, without further ado, here is the recipe! Enjoy!
No-Bake M&M Pretzel Granola Bars
- 2 cups (198 grams) old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup (28 grams) puffed rice cereal Rice Krispies or similar
- 1/2 cup (20 grams) pretzels chopped
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) M&Ms plus more for sprinkling
- 1-2 tablespoons flax seeds optional
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons, 57 grams) butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup (68 grams) peanut butter
- 1/4 cup (53 grams) brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line an 8x8 or 9x9-inch pan with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the oats, rice cereal, pretzels, 1/4 cup of the M&Ms, and flax seeds, if using. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, melt together the butter, honey, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequenty. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. Everything should be evenly coated and well-combined.
- Scrape mixture into the prepared pan, and press firmly to pack it evenly across the bottom. When the bars still have a little give to them, sprinkle the remaining M&Ms on top, then press again lightly to help the M&Ms adhere and pack everything else in very tight.
- For the best consistency, refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes before lifting out the parchment, cutting, and serving. Bars keep best stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
More Kid-Friendly Snack Ideas…
Whole Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins … Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oat Breakfast Bars … Naturally-Sweetened Key Lime Pie Popsicles … Crunchy Honey Mustard Pretzels … White Bean Sun-Dried Tomato Dip … Classic Hummus