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My daughters aged 8 and 11 had this between them for Christmas, it was on their wish list and they were thrilled when they opened it!
Admittedly I wondered if it would be worth it as we'd bought the smoothie maker a few years previously and weren't impressed. However so far I've been plesantly surprised in fact really surprised.
So we opened it up and a few days after Christmas I had the 'can we make a cereal bar' over and over 'can we pleeeeease!'. So I set it up.
The actual unit is all made of plastic with two little plastic rectangle containers, they have removable bottoms for easy removal and a lid, it comes with a little bowl and a spatular type thing but it's not actually necessary. The main unit has a screw down top bit which is the bit that squashes the cereal bar together. It also comes with 10 stickers to add the name of your bar.
How to use;
Firstly you mix your ingredients we started with chocolate one's because I knew they would set even if it went slightly wrong and I wanted them to enjoy it a bit! so we looked in the cereal cupboard and choose strawberry crisp (from Aldi), we melted a few squares of milk chocolate as if we were making chocolate crispy cakes, mix the melted chocolate with the strawberry crisp in a bowl. Place a large rectangle of cling film in the rectangular cereal bar maker containers so that there's enough cling film hanging out to wrap over the finished bar. Spoon in the mixture to about 2 thirds full, fold the cling film over, place the lid in the container. Do exactly the same with the other container and place them above each other. Then place both the containers in the main press, start twisting the screw and watch as it comes down to squash the containers and therefore press the cereal bar, you have to hear the screw make a click noise, it's when it can't be twisted anymore. We then took them out, took the lids of folded the last bit of cling film over and placed the labels onto the bar and put them in the fridge to cool. The next day we tried one! wow!! they were really tasty.
My eight year old daughter could do all of it except for the last few twists until it clicked, she got the hang of it in the end. She absolutely loved sticking the stickers on and choosing a name for her cereal bar.
We tried the following ones as well; Special K, white chocolate and cranberrys. Cornflakes, dark chocolate and chocolate drops.
All of these so far have included chocolate to combine the mixture and therefore it goes hard when cooled. So we decided to try some as the instructions suggested with jelly babies! and desert mixture - I'll explain!
In the instructions it says use jelly babies melted with hot (not boiling) water, I wasn't convinced. I know sounds mad doesn't it! my hubby was a bit concerned as we raided his christmas bag of jelly babies!! I also realised that choosing the flavour of jelly baby might be significant - so we went for Strawberry crisp (from Aldi) yet again with chocolate drops and strawberry flavoured jelly baby. We mixed a small amount of hot water with the jelly baby - stiring it until it completely disolved, we then mixed that with the strawberry crisp and chocolate drops (in hind sight I'd add them after cooled a little as they melted too much!). The process is the same as above with cling film etc and placing in the fridge. Surprisingly although it wasn't as rock hard as the melted chocolate ones, but it was quite nice if you like cereal bars normally!
We also tried the desert mix option, we took a few spoonfuls of desert mix (whip/Angel delight) and mixed with hot water again just enough to coat the cereal - not soggy. We choose banana flavour desert mix again with the strawberry crisp - it seems to soak the best. Again following the above and placing in the fridge, again it was a nice taste, I ate two! We tried this option with cocopops and it was rubbish, the cocopops soaked too much up and it went too soggy.
I think we'll have a lot more experimenting and fun with it. All in all we've enjoyed using it and it has been worth it. My daughter has been inspired to eat cereal bars made by herself which she can take in her lunch box.
What I liked most was that it isn't messy, because the cling film is inside the rectangle container they don't really get anything on them, except for the odd over spill so after a quick swill under the tap the whole thing is clean again.
I would say that probably if not using chocolate it's best to stick with museli/oaty based cereals that don't soak up too much. You can also had any dried fruits such as raisins, cherries, peal and cranberrys.
I read up on some reviews on this before it was bought and I have to say it was half and half good and bad, my experience was good. I have to say we followed the instructions carefully and it worked for us.
The stickers are used up quickly, they do sell more but at £3.00 for 10 it seems a bit expensive to me, having computer and printer I would personally prefer to print my own colourful stickers.
The unit costs about £15 (Jan 2011) I've seen it in all the major stores; Amazon, Argos and Toys r us.