I think one of the biggest wah-wah moments since going gluten-free was realizing that my family’s trashy-yet-awesome tradition of serving frozen-then-thawed Pepperidge Farms cake for everyone’s birthday is now off limits. Noooo. Seriously. NOOOOOO!
This long standing tradition started when my Dad forgot my Mom’s birthday way back in the 80s (way to go, Pops!) Having nothing special prepared and in a panic, he raced to the grocery store after work and picked up the first cake he laid eyes on – a Pepperidge Farms vanilla birthday cake from the freezer aisle. He was saved! Or so he thought.
Little did he know that the cake takes 4-6 hours to thaw in the refrigerator, as he unfortunately found out while attempting to cut into the still-frozen confection after the candles were blown out. Totally. Busted. Luckily, after a quick zap in the microwave we all enjoyed half frozen, half thawed cake but guess what? It was da bomb and delicious enough for us to serve at every family member’s birthday ever since.
Well, since I can’t have yummy yet glutenous cake for my birthday next week, I’m requesting these bad boys. Strawberry-Blueberry Vanilla Chex Bars taste like vanilla birthday cake studded with the sweet taste of strawberries, blueberries, and white chocolate, but are, you guessed it, totally gluten-free.
I think I’m coming out on top here!
These no-bake, 10 minutes treats are a riff on the Strawberry Shortcake No Bake Treat Bars I made earlier this spring, which were a HIT at my house. Vanilla Chex cereal is mixed with freeze-dried strawberries and blueberries for a firecracker-like nod to the 4th of July then mixed, Rice Krispie Treat-style, with gooey melted marshmallows. Press into a dish then slice and devour!
Ben is not a dessert person unless cupcakes are being offered, in which case he’ll eat them in one bite NO MATTER WHAT. Anyway, he proclaimed these bars “The best thing ever. Ever. Ever. Ever.” I agree.
Seriously, the bright taste of the freeze-dried fruit mixed with creamy white chocolate chips, and crunchy vanilla chex is out of this world good. You can’t get more festive for the 4th of July, either. I promise these will be the first thing gone from next week’s spread!
Did I mention they take just 10 minutes to make? Quick enough to mix, press, and slice with this little ankle biter climbing around! ;) (OMG is it time for a first haircut??)
Start with 1 box Vanilla Chex, which both Ben and I agree are what make these bars so phenomenal. They’re just sweet enough, and taste just like birthday cake!
Pour the entire box into a HUGE bowl then add 1/2oz each freeze-dried strawberries and blueberries. Very patriotic, don’t you think? I found these at Trader Joe’s but have seen several other brands at the grocery store in the “health food” section.
Note: freeze-dried fruit is NOT the same as dried fruit. Dried strawberries and blueberries could work in here, but I haven’t tried them and tend to think they might come out a little chewy.
Next add 3/4 cup white chocolate chips and mix everything up. I am borderline obsessed with white chocolate so I took the red, white, and blue theme as a good excuse to add some in.
Time to get gooey. Add a 10oz bag mini marshmallows to a large microwave-safe bowl with 1/4 cup melted butter then mix to coat the mallows. Microwave for 1 minute then stir until smooth.
Immediately pour the marshmallows over the chex mixture then mix to coat as evenly as you can. Scoop the mixture into a nonstick-sprayed 9×13″ baking dish then press into an even layer. I sprayed the bottom of this pyrex measuring glass then used it to press. Worked like a charm.
Sprinkle the tops of the bars with extra freeze-dried strawberries and blueberries for a festive touch (totally optional) then let the bars setup for 20 minutes or so. Slice, then serve!
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Strawberry-Blueberry Vanilla Chex Bars
Strawberry-Blueberry Vanilla Chex Bars are no bake treat bars that are gluten free and perfectly festive for the 4th of July!
- 1/4 cup butter
- 10oz bag gluten-free mini marshmallows
- 13.5oz box Vanilla Chex
- 1/2 cup gluten-free white chocolate chips
- 1/2oz freeze-dried strawberries (not dried strawberries)
- 1/2oz freeze-dried blueberries (not dried blueberries)
- Spray a 9×13″ baking dish with nonstick spray then set aside.
- Add Vanilla Chex, chocolate chips, freeze-dried strawberries, and freeze-dried blueberries to a very large bowl then set aside.
- Add butter to a microwave-safe bowl then microwave for 30 seconds or until melted. Add marshmallows then stir to coat and microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth then immediately pour over Chex mixture and mix until evenly coated. Scoop into prepared baking dish then press into an even layer (I sprayed the bottom of large measuring cup with nonstick spray then used that to press.) Top with extra crushed freeze-dried strawberries and blueberries for garnish, if desired, then let cool completely before cutting into bars.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Sweet, chewy, and ooey-gooey, you will got NUTS for these bars. Can’t wait to have them again next week! ;)
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