Crunchy, nutty, sweet and sticky, my easy no-bake vegan Cheerio Peanut Treats are incredibly moreish and so easy and quick to make!
These are obviously delicious whatever time of the year, but they make an unusual addition to the festive selection of sweets and are a great gift too! They last a surprisingly long time, and seem to improve in flavour as well!
Regular readers of my site will know that I love reading vintage cookbooks (1950s/60s era is my favourite), and I have an enduring love for the Pillsbury Bake-off pamphlets. And that is where I found this recipe. What caught my eye was the fact that it used Cheerios, and I had a box of cheerio-style cereal that I had bought for another recipe. I am not a big cereal eater, so the box will stay half full until I find another recipe to use them in!
So, to make these crunchy treats requires not too much effort at all, but it does require a sugar (or culinary) thermometer to ensure that the coating is the correct consistency when you pour it over the cereal and nuts.
Adding the bicarbonate of soda to the cooked caramel is an essential step which stops the caramel setting really hard. The air bubbles caused when the bicarb is stirred in, give the coating a less brittle texture, aerating the caramel.
Because of the molasses, these treats are not as sweet as you might think. Molasses has an almost smoky flavour that really is divine in these treats.
- Cheerios (or similar cereal)
- Salted Peanuts
- Brown Sugar
- Bicarbonate of Soda
- Apple Cider Vinegar
(This is ONLY a list of ingredients for the recipe; please see recipe card below for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
Mix the Cheerios and salted peanuts together in a large, oiled bowl
Heat the sugar, molasses, water and vinegar in a large pan until it reaches 250f.
Add the bicarbonate of soda to the caramel and mix
Pour over the nuts and cheerios and mix well
Hint: whilst the treats are cooling, quickly fill the used saucepan with some very hot water to make cleaning it out easier!
- Peanuts - use a different type of nut or omit the nuts altogether and use sunflower seeds instead. Alternatively, make up the difference with more cheerios.
- Molasses - use golden syrup (UK) or corn syrup.
- fruity - add some chopped dried cranberries or raisins to the mixture along with the nuts!
I use this food thermometer for quick and accurate measuring of caramel.
Store the cooled treats in an airtight tin, good for at least 7 days (although may get stickier with time, depending on temperature)!
I discussed the vegan Cheerios topic on a recent post, here. Unfortunately, there is only one type of Kelloggs Cheerio that is vegan (the low-sugar oat variety), so I suggest sourcing that one, or using an alternative brand of cereal hoops.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Vegan Peanut Cheerio No Bake Treats
- 1 large baking sheet, lightly oiled
- 1 large mixing bowl, lightly oiled
- 1 Cooking or candy thermometer
- 2 cups Cheerios we use the low fat oat Cheerios or an alternative brand (see note in post)
- ¾ cup Salted Peanuts chopped coarsly
- ⅓ cup Molasses or golden syrup
- ¾ cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Vinegar I use apple cider
- ¼ cup Water
- 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
- Place the Cheerios and chopped peanuts in the oiled mixing bowl and combine. Set to one side.
- In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the brown sugar, molasses, water and vinegar until it reaches hard ball stage (120c/250f). This should take less than 5 minutes.
- Quickly but carefully remove the pan from the heat and stir the bicarbonate of soda into the caramel using a wooden spoon.
- It will lighten up in colour and look foamy.
- Quickly pour this over the Cheerio/nut mixture and mix thoroughly until everything is coated.
- Pour onto your large oiled baking sheet.
- Leave to cool for a minute or two before you are able to handle the mixture (it cools off surprisingly quickly).
- Whilst you wait, run some really hot water into the caramel pan to clean it off. Or put it in the dishwasher if you have one!
- Once you are able to easily handle the mixture, gently ease it into small piles pressing together any bits that have come unstuck. Leave to cool completely.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove