Granola bars are the perfect snack to have around: they're tasty, not messy, have nutritional value, are filling, and don't go stale quickly.
And get this... they're easy to make! All you need is two ingredients, a microwave, and 60 seconds, and you've got yourself an awesome snack to hold you over between meals, or energize you after a workout
Mix together some granola (I recommend making some yourself) with some mini marshmallows in a microwavable bowl. My preferred recipe is ¼ cup of granola and six mini marshmallows, but you can adjust for size and sweetness.
Microwave the ingredients for 10 seconds. (If you're like me and don't have a microwave, you can use a stovetop, just make sure to stir!) After heating, the marshmallows should be stretchy (if they're not yet to that stage, heat for a few more seconds). Stir them until they start to bring all the granola together.
Next, spread the mixture out on a large sheet of parchment or waxed paper.
Fold and press the wax paper over the mixture so that you can form a granola bar shape. Then let them cool in the paper; you can expedite this process by popping them into the freezer. Once they've firmed up, they're good to eat and will last a few days.
The simplicity of this recipe means that there are a myriad of alterations you can make to it. I love to add a little bit of toasted coconut and pecan bits, or some chocolate chips and a little bit of peanut butter for a sweeter bite. For a richer flavor that's easier to shape (albeit a touch less healthy), Serious Eats recommends adding some butter and brown sugar to make a marshmallow caramel concoction.
When I want to have a fun variation, I use cereal instead of granola, or mix some cereal with some granola. And who doesn't love chocolate-covered granola bars?
But Back to the Cutting Board probably has my favorite idea. They recommend artistically wrapping each bar in wax paper, with twisted ends, which makes for a fun presentation.
I know what you're thinking: adding marshmallows to granola bars can't be healthy. But you'd be surprised at how unhealthy generic granola bars are. Don't let a "healthy word" like granola fool you. A standard Quaker granola bar has 100 calories, 7g of sugar, and 70mg of sodium. Six marshmallows, plus ¼ cup of Trader Joe's lowfat granola with almonds makes a bar the same size, with roughly 80 calories, 7g of sugar, and 27mg of sodium.
I won't argue with that (and really, it tastes a lot better than those grocery store versions).