Keep it cool with these easy no-bake desserts!

I don't just enjoy chocolate. I consider it a vitamin supplement. Just a small dose will remind me that everything will be okay. Let's just call it emotional nutrition...before Gwenyth does.

proper pie marshmallow pie

But in the dog days of summer when craving a sweet treat, I don't want to use the oven. If you're creative, you can whip up a dessert without baking. You can make cereal bars that don't involve any snap, crackle or pop. You can invent combinations that are spicy, playful - even a little healthy! And it could not be easier. 

Let's talk about the base. It's so easy it's almost boring.

Cereal Bars - Base Recipe

  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, plus more softened for the pan
  • 1 10 ounce bag of mini marshmallows
  • 5 cups of cereal (your choice)
  • Mix-in ideas (listed below)

Lucky Cherms cereal bar

You still need a little more substance to absorb all that gooey marshmallow and melted butter. How you choose to fill up the rest is up to you, as long as it's about 1.5 cups. That way, the texture is perfect. Whatever cereal base I use is going to dictate the mix-ins, and I have some ideas below. 

Mix-In Ideas for Base Recipe

  • The Chunky Monkey: 3/4 cup of banana chips & 3/4 cup of chocolate chips (Note: Cheerios would make a great base for this)
  • The Trail Mix: 1/2 cup of peanuts, 1/2 cup M&Ms & 1/2 cup of dried fruit (Note: Raisin Bran would make a great base for this)
  • Tropic Thunder: 1/2 cup of shredded coconut, 1/2 cup of dried mango & 1/2 cup of chopped macadamia nuts (Note: Corn Flakes would make a great base for this)

Cereal Bar Cooking Instrutions

  • Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with melted butter, and set aside.
  • In a large pot over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter.
  • Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in cereal and chosen mix-ins to combine. Press into prepared pan; let it cool so that the mixture can firm.
  • Cut into squares and serve - the bars keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.

healthy cereal bar

Like I encourage with most recipes, experiment and play with flavors. If you'd like to make the mix healthier, protein will make the snack bars more filling. Add chopped nuts, chia seeds or flax seeds. If you want to add a dash of sweetness that isn't chocolate, butterscotch chips work in a pinch. But my guilty pleasure is a dash or two (or ten) of Fruity Pebbles. Let us know the ideal combination you come up with!

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