Cereal cookies are any cookies that contain at least one type of manufactured cereal. The cookies might be a non-baked variety or can be baked in an oven, with other ingredients added to hold the cookies together and add flavor. Any type of cereal can be used, including leftover cereal bits that otherwise would go uneaten.
The types of cereal that are used to make the cookies helps dictate what other ingredients should be added to the mixture. If cereals that consist of plain flakes or puffs are being used, ingredients such as dried fruit, marshmallows or nuts will complement the cereal’s flavor. Mixing two or three types of cereal also gives the different flavors, and a baker can try different combinations to find a favorite blend.
The cereal that is used to make the cookies can be whole or crushed pieces, depending on the type of texture that is desired. Cookies that use crushed cereal are good for using up any small bits of cereal or crumbs that might be left in the bottom of a cereal box's bag. Some cereals, when crushed, become dust and are better used for cookies when they are in their whole form.
Cereal cookies can be in a quick, non-bake form or in a variety that is baked in an oven. Non-bake cereal cookies typically are held together with peanut butter or melted marshmallows, which keeps the cereal together in a cookie form. Cereal cookies that are baked involve mixing the cereal into a cookie dough of the baker's preference. Non-bake cookies take less time to put together, because they need only to be mixed before sitting at room temperature until they harden enough to be eaten. Putting non-bake cookies in a refrigerator can also help them solidify.
Rice cereal treats might be technically considered cereal cookies, because they are made of cereal and are in a shape that can resemble a cookie. Like other non-bake recipes, rice cereal treats are not baked in the oven. The cereal is merely with melted marshmallows, butter and possibly other ingredients before the mixture is allowed to set at room temperature.
Cereal cookies can easily be turned into various forms or shapes. Like regular cookies, they can be shaped with cookie cutters to make shapes for holidays or other occasions. If cookie cutters are not available, a knife can be used to cut the cookies into any shapes that are desired. After the cookies have been shaped and baked, they can be adorned with icing, sprinkles or different pieces of candy for decoration or extra flavor.