When I was in sixth grade, I went on a field trip to a community college where we spent the day in a spaceship simulator. I was given some difficult job where I had to have a steady hand and a quick mind, and although we nearly crashed to Earth, it took us all outside of ourselves enough that for the first time in maybe ever, I felt a part of that class–not made fun of for my inability to style my bangs right or roll my jeans in that funny tight way, but accepted because I was a useful part of the team that kept us from crashing back to Earth. That day.
I was absolutely sure I would be an astronaut. I was sure of it for a long time.
I have also been sure I would be an actor. I went to acting school and then I left because I changed my mind. Changed it enough to decide I would be someone who lived in Prague. And I did, for a few hours. I had a job and an offer of a room, but I felt too far away from where I was from and, even through I didn’t feel home when I was home, it physically hurt to be away from it. Then, I thought I would just be a waitress forever. I thought I would be a midwife. And then, because I thought maybe I was selling myself short, I decided I would be a doctor. Somewhere in there I thought I’d be an academic. Then I I thought I’d end up clean houses for a living. I thought I’d just travel and not stay in one place. I thought I’d be a vegetarian. I thought I’d be a mother of boys. I thought I’d get more tattoos. I thought I’d be a Buddhist. A designer. A photographer. I thought I’d be a choreographer. There was a time I almost ended up going to LA to choreograph court dances for movies. I know how to do that. I thought I’d be a politician. Write novels. Be an activist.
(I take comfort in the list. It makes the world feel wide. I’ve even been some of these things. And of course, if all goes well, life is long.)
This recipe thought it would be in my next book. It was one of my very favorites, and I kept talking it up–giving the results to friends and saying… this recipe will be in my book! But sometimes things work out differently. Maybe even better. In any case, not just one but three (!) car snacks fell to the chopping block, so they get to live here, now, a full 6 months before that book makes its way into the world. Here’s the first of them.
The Moon Bar (Car Snack 6)
This is like a luna bar, but not, because it’s way tastier and made in your own kitchen. Most of the structure for this recipe originally came from this site, and I was grateful especially for the use of the freezer, which really helps hold it all together. Joey says this is the one of his favorite things I have made ever, EVER, and he was raised on Taco Bell and this recipe contains flax seed so that’s saying something. It’s a car snack- yes, but it’s also a dessert because who are we fooling here. It’s delicious.
Makes 12 to 16 bars
3/4 cup (195g) smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup (65 g) brown rice syrup
1/4 cup (75 g) honey
1/2 cup (50g) rolled oats, blitzed in a food processor or roughly chopped with a sharp knife
1/4 cup (16 g) flax meal (or just grind up flax seed in a blender or coffee grinder)
3 cups (84 g) crispy rice cereal (this can be brown rice cereal or regular rice crispies, just don’t use puffed rice)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces (226g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, broken up into pieces
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Finishing salt (like Maldon or Fleur de Sel or just more plain old salt)
1. Line a 9×9-inch or equivalent pan with parchment paper, leaving a bit of overhang over the sides of the pan. Measure the peanut butter, brown rice syrup, and honey into a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine as it all melts together, then remove from heat.
2. Add the oats, flax meal, rice cereal, and salt to the peanut butter mixture. Stir to combine, then shift to a potato masher and mash the mixture together. Scrape into the prepared pan and use the potato masher to flatten the mixture as much as possible. Transfer the pan to the freezer.
3. Set up a double boiler over low heat, and measure the chocolate, coconut oil, and vanilla into the bowl. Stir until the mixture is thin and melted. Remove the pan from the freezer and pour the chocolate mixture over the oat mixture, spreading it with a spatula to get the chocolate layer as even as possible. Sprinkle the coarse salt over the chocolate. Return the pan to the freezer for at least 1 hour, then remove the pan and cut into 12 to 16 bars.
These will keep at room temperature in a covered container for up to 2 days, but they do better in the refrigerator, where they’ll keep in covered container for up to 10 days. Or you can store them in the freezer in an airtight container for 3 to 4 months.
(Why Car Snack 6? Because there are 4 others that came before it! Find them here (although 1-3 have updated versions in my first book):
Car Snack 1
Car Snack 2
Car Snack 3 (not on my site! But it’s in The Homemade Pantry)
Car Snack 4
Car Snack 5
Laurie McLeod says
Love that you say these colossal beauties would last in an airtight container for 3 to 4 months. Not in this house. I don’t know what it is about freezing these kind of things that makes them even better to me. They’d maybe last 3 to 4 days. P.S. I remember when you were a choreographer.
Ha! It’s true you might have to hide them in the freezer. They don’t seem to last more than a few days around here…. And lucky, I think- once a choreographer always a choreographer? Didn’t you teach me that?
Laurie McLeod says
Just to say that I’ve had good luck making a fast delicious chocolate sauce/topping type thing by putting chocolate chips and some heavy cream in the top of a double boiler. Shazam! In about 90 seconds, it’s perfect. I don’t eat refined sugar so I use the malt sweetened chips and man is it yummy. For fudge sauce, it’s one cup of chips and 4 T of heavy cream. I would just use less cream to make the topping for the Moon Bars. So good.
Yes- great idea!
Mind blown! There are SIX car snacks?! How did I miss #4 and #5?! We absolutely live on your car snacks around here – in fact, my two boys went through a pan of #2 in about six hours yesterday. I’m going out to the store just to buy gf rice crispies for these today. Thanks for the recipe!!!!
Ha! I’ve been sneaking them in there. SO glad Car snack 2 is such a hit over there- let me know what you think of this one!
Aimee @ Simple Bites says
Adding these ingredients to my shopping list. We loved them!!
I’m so glad! It was so fun to get to send them home with you xoxo
Can you substitute any other nut butter for the peanut butter?? (equal amounts?)
Hi Susan, I haven’t tested these with other nut butters, but you should have no problem. I think almond or cashew or even sun nut butter would work great. I wouldn’t do this with tahini though- I think they wouldn’t stick together. If you try other butters, will you let us know how they work?
These look so good, can’t wait to give them a go. Thank you!
Paula in Tennessee says
These look so good. I am looking forward to your next book. I just received my copy of Brown Eggs and Jam Jars. Thanks for the review.
Thank you, Paula! I hope you love Aimee’s book as much as I do. I’m turning to it so much around here these days.
See, I look at that list, and I see all the things I’m pretty sure you are. You are a politician, aren’t you? An activist, too, right? A designer, a photographer… I mean, you embody so many of these things. Bravo for folding so many of your past dreams and wants into the present you. (And as the mother of boys, I will handle that so you can focus on your girls.)
Your car snacks from The Homemade Pantry continue to delight me. I say continue developing these until we hit an even hundred.
<3 (as you say so well, deep bow of gratitude...)
We are huge fans of the cereal bar car snack from the Homemade Pantry, so I couldn’t wait to make this one. Let’s just say, these are my new favorite dessert-that-has-remotely-good-protein (thank you, peanut butter! also, unrelated shout out to flax meal!). I entered the ingredients into a recipe calculator, and it was 5g protein and 225 calories per serving (if you cut into 16 bars). Not too shabby! I used dark chocolate with almonds in it, so those are a cool texture on top 🙂 Thanks so much for posting this- I have it printed and folded next to the cereal bar page 🙂
Tania @ The Cook's Pyjamas says
Can I just check with you what you mean by crispy rice cereal? I am in Australia so need to find an equivalent. I would have thought it was puffed rice, but you said not so now I’m not too sure what I am looking for. Can you just give me some idea of appearance, texture etc? Will puffed rice not work?
Hi Tania! I think puffed rice might be what you’re looking for there- if that’s the first thing that comes to mind. Here, we have crispy rice (the biggest brand is Rice Crispies), which make a popping sound when they hit milk–they’re the thing you find most often, and I’m guessing that’s what’s you have there, too. There’s a lesser available more health food-y thing called puffed rice here, which is softer and puffier and goes mushy in milk. That won’t work in this recipe. But if it’s crunchy and poppy- you’re good.
Okay, so I made this recipe and it changed my life! I had to make a couple substitutions (they only had chocolate Rice Krispies at the store, we didn’t have enough chocolate so I subbed in a bit of Nutella, etc.) I couldn’t put my finger on it at first and just now realized – these taste exactly like a watchamacallit candy bar! They were a childhood favorite of mine and I haven’t had one in more than ten years (I’m a celiac.) oh. My. Goodness. These take me back to summer days of sitting on our front porch in the heat, drinking cans of grape crush (which, as an adult I realize is disgusting but tasted like ambrosia then) and playing jump rope. Thanks for bringing back childhood memories!!!!!