POV: You just got home from summer camp, and you turn on Disney Channel to find High School Musical on for the 50th time. You pour yourself a big ol’ bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Life truly couldn’t get any better.
While we may have outgrown some of the “fun” that was watching HSM on repeat, one thing is for sure: Cinnamon Toast Crunch remains to be one of the tastiest cereals of all time. If you agree, you might already be aware that the makers of the popular cereal brand recently released a Cinnamon Toast Crunch Protein Bar packed with 20 grams of protein to (we can only assume) appeal to us adults that love to feed our inner child.
In favor of keeping ingredients minimal and flavor maximal, we set out to find a from-scratch cinnamon toast crunch protein bar #duuupe. The results? We landed on a recipe that’s basically a crossover between a s’more, protein bar, and bowl of cinnamon toast. No spoon, milk, or campfire needed. (You’re welcome.)
How to make a Cinnamon Toast Crunch protein bar from scratch
If you’re someone who loves s’mores and never misses the chance to try to fit a little more energy-boosting protein into your diet, these DIY Cinnamon Toast Crunch protein bars have your name written all over them. Best of all, no campfire is necessary to enjoy these sweet little snacks. In a recent TikTok video by @youcanbeam, we learned how to make them, and you only need a few ingredients, aside from a box of cereal, of course.
@youcanbeam the best protein bars I’ve EVER had! #protein #proteinpowder #proteinrecipe #fitness #highprotein #cerealbars #gymtok ♬ Lo-fi hip hop – NAO-K
The first step is very similar to how you would make Rice Krispie Treats, another iconic childhood staple: You melt a tablespoon or so of unsalted butter in a large pot and add three cups of mini marshmallows. This will serve as the glue, if you will, in the recipe to bind all of the ingredients together. Next, add two scoops of cinnamon protein powder (or the protein powder of your choice) and stir until well combined. Then the fun part: adding copious amounts of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal (aka three or so cups) and folding it into the marshmallow-butter blend.
To form the protein bars, transfer the marshmallow-y cereal mixture into a greased baking pan, and pat it down to create one uniform layer. Once you’ve shaped it, ensure it sets by transferring it to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Of course, as the video narrator says, you can stop right there and you’ll have a tasty Rice Krispies-like snack. However, if you want to take things up a notch, flavor-wise—and up the protein factor, too—you can add a sweet, protein-rich drizzle to garnish the bars.
While the bars set in the fridge, make the icing by combining two scoops of vanilla protein powder (or again, whichever one you prefer), a quarter cup of powdered sugar, and a cup of milk. Mix until it’s silky smooth, and lather it on top of the chilled bars. And although you might be highly inclined to dig right in, you’ll want to let the icing set once again in the fridge. Thankfully, just an hour or two in the refrigerator is more than enough.
Once it’s solid, transfer it to a cutting board and portion the bars to your liking. You can stack them one on top of the other with the icing in the center to create a protein sandwich. And if you want to add a little extra extra zhuzh, drizzle the bars with a bit of chocolate on top.
So, why make these high-protein bars?
Aside from the nostalgia-inducing joy, these sweet bars are a delicious midday pick-me-up. And while they’re probably not the most balanced before-bed snack, it’s a great feeling to feed your inner child the snackie they lust after. Plus, according to registered dietitians, a little extra protein before you hit the hay is one of the key ingredients to achieving a good night’s rest (while, of course, staying mindful of how the sugar in this recipe might affect your sleep). It’s also worth noting that protein powder, a main ingredient in this recipe, might impact the flavor and lend a tackier texture to this fun concoction. But if you’re familiar with eating protein bars, it won’t be too off-putting or dissimilar.
An RD shares some of the best picks for protein bars: