Happy Monday, everyone – I hope you had a nice weekend! The boys and I just returned from a trip to Washington DC to visit Ben’s parent’s for a few days!
It’s always a great mix of fun and R&R whenever we head out east. Over the past few days Lincoln enjoyed catching up on some light reading, we went for several long walks in the sunshine to house-gaze, and even got to have lunch with our friends Kim, Dylan, and their adorable four month old son who also live out there.
No trip to our nation’s capital would be complete without seeing some it’s signature sights, so of course we drove into the city to visit our junior senator’s namesake memorial. He’s a dead ringer, don’t you think?
No matter how many times I see the monuments around DC, they still make my jaw drop. Glad to see the reflecting pool’s been filled up too as it was under construction and empty the last time we were here. (Anyone else thing of Forrest Gump’s epic speech whenever they see this?!)
We were about five days early for peak cherry blossom viewing, but there were a few trees here and there that had bloomed. I’m actually glad we came when we did as it would have been mass chaos if the trees were at their peak. And although the wind was whippy as the family walked around the tidal basin in front of the Jefferson Memorial, the fresh air and clear blue skies were bliss. Spring…I heart you. :)
We visited a few yummy restaurants while out east, which I’ll fill you in on sometime soon, but first I want to share a treat I made for you last week before we left – Strawberry Shortcake Treat Bars, aka the easiest dessert known to man and Ben’s favorite one I’ve ever made. I thought it was quite the dramatic proclamation when he declared it, cheeks stuffed with gooey vanilla-strawberry flavored treat bars, but after swallowing he confirmed. Best. Thing. EVER!
Normally I wait until Fridays to share sweet treats, but these babies are too good to wait. Here’s the deal – 4 ingredients. 10 minutes. Gluten-free. Crispy, chewy-gooey treat bars that taste like Strawberry Shortcake. Need I say more? Make these for your office, your sweetie, or just for you. I won’t tell!
The base is Vanilla Chex which are not only gluten-free but also taste like cake. Freaking. CAKE! Mix in some melted marshmallows and freeze-dried strawberries and you’ve got yourself one heck of a kicked up treat bar. I’ve got about a million variations of these floating around in my head, so be prepared for some similar recipes in the months to come. In the meantime, make these treats TODAY!
As I mentioned, you’ll need just 4 ingredients for these Strawberry Shortcake No Bake Treat Bars. 1 box Vanilla Chex, 1 bag mini marshmallows, 1.2oz bag freeze-dried strawberries, and 4 Tablespoons butter. Easy!
Microwave the butter in a very (very!) large microwave-safe bowl until melted then add the mini marshmallows and stir to coat. Microwave for another 1 – 1-1/2 minutes then stir until the marshmallows are smooth.
Next add the entire box of vanilla chex and bag of freeze-dried strawberries. I got the strawberries from Trader Joe’s but if you don’t have one nearby just get 1 – 1-1/2oz freeze dried strawberries.
NOTE: freeze-dried strawberries are different than dried strawberries. I think dried fruit would work in this bar, but just know they are not the same!
Edit: Also look in the health food section of your grocery stores to find these under the “Just Tomatoes Etc” brand as “Just Strawberries”!
Mix until the chex are coated in marshmallow then scoop the mixture into a 9×13″ pan that’s been sprayed with nonstick spray. Press into an even layer using the bottom of a glass or measuring dish that’s also been sprayed with nonstick spray.
Let the treat bars sit for 20-25 minutes to cool and firm up then cut into squares – however big or small you like ’em.
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Strawberry Shortcake No Bake Treat Bars
Strawberry Shortcake No Bake Treat Bars have 4 ingredients, are gluten-free and take just 10 minutes to make!
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 10oz bag mini marshmallows
- 13.5oz box Vanilla Chex
- 1.2oz bag freeze-dried strawberries (anywhere from 1 - 1.5 ounces is good if you can't find this particular bag from Trader Joe's)*
- Spray a 9x13" baking dish with nonstick spray then set aside.
- Add butter to a very large microwave-safe bowl then microwave for 30 seconds or until melted. Add marshmallows then stir to coat and microwave for 1 - 1-1/2 minutes. Stir until marshmallows are smooth then immediately add chex and freeze-dried strawberries. Mix until evenly coated then scoop into prepared baking dish and press into an even layer (I sprayed the bottom of large measuring dish with nonstick spray then used that to press) then let cool completely before cutting into bars.
Freeze-dried strawberries are not the same as dried strawberries!
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Sweet, sticky, chewy and with a taste of spring berries – you will devour each and every morsel of these treats. Enjoy!
Any thoughts or tips since they have apparently tragically discontinued vanilla Chex? 😭
UGH!! Maybe frosted Cheerios (only if you don’t need to eat GF!)
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Coconut oil subs well in this, too! Yum!!
Pamela Bienemann 02.20.2017
I can’t find vanilla Chex at my store so I got plain. Should I add vanilla instead or some strawberry cake mix? What do you think?
I think vanilla or strawberry cake mix would be your best bet! Good idea!
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Great recipe! I made this last week as dessert for a family meal and it was very good. My grandparents particularly liked it REALLY well. I melted the butter and marshmallows in a pan on the stove as I didn’t have a big enough microwave-safe bowl. I also used dried strawberries (from Target) because that’s all I could find. Very good, but I’d like to try it as written so next time I’ll hunt a little harder for the freeze-dried strawberries! :)
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I just made these tonight! I’ve been eyeing them every since you posted! I used a mixed berry bag of freeze dried berries (strawberries, blueberries & raspberries) and right after everything was mixed I ended up tossing in a 1/2 cup of ghiradelli white choc chips…they melted as they got swirled in. These are AWESOME! I am waiting for them to cool so I can cut them, but nibbled on a few pieces. YUM! Can’t wait for the hubby the try them!
Julie M. 04.27.2014
Made these tonight and they were soooo yummy! :)
Heather M. 04.23.2014
I made these last night and my family loved the flavor, but said they were a tad bit too chewy. So I doublechecked the recipe and have a question. In the recipe it says 4 tablespoons of butter, but in the picture from the blog it shows only 3 tablespoons. I used 4…do you think that’s why mine turned out the way they did? :>
Sorry for the confusing picture! I did use 1/4 cup butter – snagged a Tbsp from another stick.
Heather M. 04.23.2014
Thanks so much for your super quick reply, Kristin! I just found out my husband snuck a bowl of cereal out of the box for my daughter, so that could be why the recipe came out a little differently. :> BTW, love love love your blog, your recipes, and especially Friday Favorites.
Ahhh, hahaha, those pesky husbands! Yes, that might make the bars a little more marshmallowy than intended. ;)
I made these for Easter and everyone loved them. And we have family members who are gluten free and they were so happy we had a treat for them and all. Everyone asked for the recipe. Thank you for posting this. These are killer. I can’t wait to try them with some of the other trader joes freeze dried fruits.
I just made these, and they are SO yummy! They literally took all of 5 minutes to make! Thanks for sharing another winner, Kristin!