Fruit-filled Mini Cereal Bars

Small cereal bars made with wholesome natural ingredients and a lot less sugar and fat than the commercial variety bars.

3/4 cup dates
3/4 cup blueberries
3/4 cup strawberries
1/3 cup water or juice

1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 cup quick oats
2 cups flour (all-purpose, whole wheat or mixture)
1 tsp baking powder

In a saucepan on medium-high heat, simmer the filling ingredients until the fruit is soft. Blend until smooth and thick with an immersion blender.

While the filling cools, make your dough. Combine butter, applesauce and honey. In another bowl, combine oats, flour and baking powder, then add to wet ingredients until mixture forms a ball of dough. Knead the dough for a few minutes, adding more flour as necessary if it’s too sticky. If you’re still finding it hard to work with, chill it in the fridge for an hour or so. On a well-floured surface, take half the dough at a time and roll it out into a rectangular shape with about 1/8″ thickness. Cut the dough into long strips with about a 3″ width. Spread a thin layer of filling down the centre of the strips. Fold the strips over and seal the edges shut. Cut the strips into 3″ bars. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet at bake at 350F for 20 minutes.

This was an experiment and I didn’t know if it was going to work but I was really happy with the results.  I can’t wait to try these with some different fillings. I’m thinking maybe apples and cinnamon,or cinnamon, raisins and brown sugar, or even chocolate chips. The possibilities are endless! This particular filling was very nice and it made way more than I needed (so I’ve adjusted the amounts accordingly above). I’ve been using the extra filling as a jam on toast and the kids love it. I love that it has no sugar and lots of fibre so it’s a lot better for you than regular jam. I just used all-purpose flour for the dough this time because it’s all I had at that moment, but I might try it with whole-wheat flour next time to make it more healthy, and maybe add it some flaxseed meal or wheatgerm. It’s still a work in progress but a good start. Give them a try and let me know if you have any suggestions. Also, you can try a bigger sized bar, I made them mini so they would be more kid-sized but I think they would work as a larger bar too. Or even take cookie cutters and make some fun shapes with them. Oh boy, I’m just brimming with ideas today!

***UPDATE: Check out my post Fruit-Filled Cereal Bars, Revisted for a revised dough recipe.

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  1. says

    What a clever idea. I can’t wait to try this. I’m sure it will be a hit. Terrific for a healthy pick me up mid-day at work too, when everyone one else is hitting the candy jars!

  2. Pam says

    I tried this recipe out and it is great! I used saskatoons, rhubarb and apple juice for the filling. I used whole wheat flour and 7 grain oats in the crust. I then used a perogy press to shape them into bite sized pieces.

    Our whole family loved these!! Thanks for posting this recipe!

  3. Lauren says

    I tried making these the other day but I found the dough a bit doughy…I doubt that makes sense. I love the idea but I need a better option for the outside. Mine taste ick the next day. Any ideas for a more cookie type outer coating? Maybe graham cracker crumbs instead of flour or something?? Otherwise, LOVE LOVE LVE the idea…I also love your pancake recipe, by the way :)

  4. says

    Lauren, I think I know what you mean, the dough isn’t crumbly like a nutrigrain bar, it’s a firmer dough. I like that though because the kids make less mess that way and they hold their shape better while on-the-go. But for a more crumbly or flaky crust you could try more butter and maybe granulated sugar instead of the honey? The graham cracker crumbs might work, I’m not sure. Let me know if you have any success!

  5. says

    These look so easy to make and so nutritous. How long does it keep… it would a great snack to keep on hand for quick pick me up or grab and go.

  6. says

    Just made a batch today. I used Raspberries in place of Strawberries and added some flax meal. So far they are smelling great!

  7. says

    I made these yesterday, Megan. Thanks so much for the new snack idea! I used prunes, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries for the filling. For the dough I used half white flour and half whole wheat. I also added in some flax seed. DS, his playdate, DH, and I all love them!

  8. Lauren says

    Ok, I tried a different crust idea. I used the sugar cookie recipe from the website. But, changed it to make it a little healthier. So, i was 8oz cream cheese, 3/4 C butter, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/3 C agave nectar and 2 C flour (I used nutriblend but I think next time I’d use a mix of whole wheat and nutriblend).

    I added some flax to the filling and totally forgot about the prunes! DANG!

    ANyhow, they are so totally awesome! The crust is perfect! I think I’d play around with it a bit (cut out some of the butter, use applesauce) but it’s fairly healthy the way it is.

    New staple in my family’s diet. Thanks :)

  9. says

    I loved the filling but I had trouble with the dough too. It came out kind of gummy/doughy. I love the idea, so I think I will play around a bit. I took a great picture while I was making these, my 11 month old threw a ball that landed smack in the filling- which sloshed everywhere and made a huge mess.

  10. says

    I’ve been playing around with this recipe some more and I’ve edited the original post recipe to show some adjustments I’ve made. The dough should be a little less chewy now hopefully. Thanks everyone for the comments so far!

  11. Anonymous says

    Hello Megan!
    Can you please specify how many cereal bars the recipe makes. I am really bad at rolling dough and if I have a number to aim at, it would help.
    Thank you!

  12. Sarah says

    I just made these and they’re great! The dough is a bit “doughy” or chewy, but it’s still tasty. I don’t really care for the packaged cereal bars since they taste so fake, but these bars actually taste real/fresh (since they are) so they’re way better. We picked blueberries today so I used 1 cup of blueberries and no strawberries. I did find that I had a lot of leftover dough though and I ran out of filling so I’d make at least 1 1/2 recipes of the filling next time (if not double). Thanks for the great recipe!

  13. says

    Thanks for the feedback! When I first made it I had way too much filling so I halved the amounts but now apparently it isn’t enough. I think 1 1/2 of the previous amount will hopefully work. I’ll re-adjust the amounts in the post.

  14. says

    Anonymous poster, I’m sorry, I was noticing I never replied to your question. I’m actually not sure how many bars this makes! Next time I make them I’ll let you know.

    • says

      Yes, you could use all blueberries or all strawberries, as long as you don’t leave out the dates. Frozen works fine too but you may need to use less liquid.

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