MAKES: About a dozen squares

TIME: 15 minutes

A better-tasting, good-for-you version of store-bought snack squares. These are a lot of fun to fool around with; see the variations.

3/4 cup honey

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn

3 cups Crunchy Granola

Put the honey, brown sugar, and oil in a small pot and bring to a boil. Put the granola in a large bowl and pour the sugar mixture over the top while mixing; stir until the granola is well coated.

Press into an 8- or 9-inch square pan and let cool in the fridge. Cut into squares or rectangles and serve. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Variations

Dried Fruit Bars. Use just about any dried fruit here; dates or dried figs are great, as are dried apricots, raisins, plums, pears, and more: Substitute 11/2 cups dried fruit for the honey and brown sugar. Put the dried fruit and oil in a food processor and pure until smooth, stopping the machine to scrape down the sides if necessary. (Add small amounts of water if the fruit is dried out and not processing.) Proceed with the recipe.

Orange-Spice Granola Bars. Great with some chocolate chips in the mix: Add 1 tablespoon chopped orange zest, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon each ground cardamom and ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.

Nutty Granola Bars. Loaded with nuts and seeds: Substitute 1 cup mixed or single toasted roughly chopped nuts and whole seeds for 1 cup of the granola.

Peanut (or Any Nut) Butter Granola Bars. Practically a power bar: Substitute peanut or any nut butter for the brown sugar.

Dried Cherry-Chocolate Granola Bars. A great picnic or brown-bag lunch dessert: Add 1 cup dried cherries and 1/2 cup or more melted semisweet chocolate. Add the cherries to the granola. Proceed with the recipe; after the granola is pressed into the pan, drizzle the top with the melted chocolate, then cool in the fridge.