I remember spending a fair chunk of my allowance at school bake sales growing up. In the elementary classes, the privilege to plunk down a few nickels or dimes for something sugary-sweet was a weekly occurrence we looked forward to. Being a fund-raising initiative, the desserts on the table were all donations from student's parents, and ranged from store-bought, over-frosted cupcakes (always tied with the Dutchie Timbits as the last item to go) to the homemade chocolate chip cookies and brownies that disappeared within the first 15 minutes of the sale opening. Then there were the items that made up the bulk of the table - middle-of-the-pack snacks like rice krispie treats, non-chocolate cookies and the occasional batch of muffins. Needless to say, nobody from age 6-13 went without a sugar high on a Friday.
While the majority of the offerings at our school bake sales were fairly innocuous, run-of-the-mill fare, occasionally you'd get something far different than what you could expect from a grocery store or coffee shop. One of my friends was famous for always bringing something unique and delicious - from Jell-O eggs and orange jelly bean "carrots" at Easter to homemade marshmallow snowmen in the winter. One week, shortly before Summer break began, she brought in a pan of thin, chewy oatmeal and raisin bars stuck together with melted marshmallows and chocolate. I never got the whole recipe out of her (granted, it was likely her mom who made them so who knows if she knew the formula), but by mixing the "bottom of the bags" from a few pantry staples, chocolate chips and Craisins with a sticky-gooey concoction of condensed milk and marshmallow fluff, I had a very similar tasting no-bake cookie bar on my hands.
By using the Craisins and bittersweet chocolate, the taste was a little less cloyingly sweet than the original which made it more amenable to adult palates. The batch is almost fat free too, given marshmallow's nature and the fact that I used light condensed milk, and the oats, All-Bran, wheat germ and psyllium add a hefty dose of fibre so that the insulin spike from the candy isn't quite so stark. However, don't be lulled into the "health food halo" by these nutritious ingredients - there is still candy and chocolate packing these treats, and sugar is sugar is sugar!
Chewy Fibre Bars
Makes one 15 X 10 cookie sheet, 30 bars
3 cups All-Bran twigs
2 cups large flake rolled oats
¼ cup ground psyllium husks
1 ½ cups wheat germ
1 (7 oz) jar Marshmallow Fluff
1 ½ cans (450mL) low fat sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
¼ cup dried cranberries