Now that my daughter is in preschool, I have a new culinary responsibility: preschool snacks. These bars are what I made for the first time I took snacks to preschool. They are a variation of a Martha Stewart recipe I saw somewhere. They have the same basic idea as Rice Krispy treats, except that they are made with Cheerios and contain dried fruit. I also added sliced almonds to mine. Online cooking schools
are available for those of you who also love cooking yummy things like
these cereal bars.
Fruit and Oat Cereal Bars
Nonstick cooking spray
2 tbsp butter
1 bag (10 oz.) marshmallows
Dash of salt
6 cups toasted oat cereal
1 cup dried fruit
½ cup sliced almonds
Spray a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper; spray paper with cooking spray, and set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add marshmallows and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until marshmallows have melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in cereal, dried fruit, and almonds.
Immediately transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet. Using a spatula (or your fingers) coated with cooking spray, press in quickly and firmly. Let cool, about 1 hour; cut into 24 bars (3 rows lengthwise by 8 rows crosswise).
Makes 24 servings.
Is it just me, or does using Cheerios instead of Rice Krispies make it healthier? I think oat cereal is healthier than rice cereal. Anyway, these are really good and the preschool teacher reported that the kids liked them. Yay!
The great thing about these bars is that you can use any kind of dried fruit you have on hand. The original recipe called for dried cranberries, and while I love dried cranberries and I'm sure that would be really good, I had some dried apricots in my pantry that I had no use for and needed to use up. I really liked the little bits of chewiness they provided. I added the sliced almonds for a little extra crunch.
This is a good recipe to know. Cereal, marshmallows, and some kind of dried fruit (even raisins) are pretty standard pantry staples, so you can easily throw something together in case, at 9:00 at night, you suddenly remember that you are supposed to bring snacks the next day. I'm sure that will happen to me at some point!