Homemade Clif Bars
As I was riding to the marathon, I was commenting to my wife that I usually eat a Clif Bar or a banana about an hour before a race, but I wasn’t super hungry this time. I was breaking it up in the package and she said, “Why don’t you just break it up and eat it on the run?” Pretty smart cookie, that wife of mine!
Honestly, I hadn’t thought about doing that? I was more going for homemade foods to cut down on costs, but the consistence is perfect for what I was looking for. The consistency of Clif Bars was basically what I wanted those No Bake Energy Bites to have. They ball up well, they hold their shape, and they are packed with nutrients. So, armed with a not-so-new idea, I went online and found a few recipes. After some looking and comparing, I decided to try this one out at my next chance. It’s another no-bake solution, which is nice, and it looks to have the consistency I’m looking for. I’m posting the recipe below but if you want pictures, follow the link.
- There is plenty of room for variation here, so let your mind and tastebuds run wild. I have a few variation ideas to get you started. And yes, you can definitely double this recipe and press into a 13×9-inch pan insteads of an 8-inch pan.
- 1 and ¼ cups crisp rice cereal (e.g., I like Erwhon Crisp Brown, but Rice Krispies are fine)
- 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal)1/4 cup finely chopped dried fruit (e.g., raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, etc.)
- ¼ cup finely chopped nuts or seeds (pepitas are great)
- ⅓ cup honey, maple syrup or brown rice syrup
- ½ cup nut or seed butter of your choice (e.g., peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Combine the rice cereal, oats, flaxseed meal, dried fruit, and nuts in a large bowl.
- Combine the syrup and nut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted and well-blended (alternatively microwave in small microwave-safe bowl 30-60 seconds until melted). Stir in vanilla until blended.
- Pour nut butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until coated (use a wooden spoon at first, then get your hands in it. It will be sticky, but this way you can really coat everything. Just scrape off your hands when you’re done).
- Press mixture firmly into an 8-inch square pan (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) using a large square of wax paper (really tamp it down).
- Cool in pan on a wire rack, then chill at least 30 minutes to help it set.
- Cut into 12 bars. (Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator).
Will You Cherry Me?: Use chopped dried tart cherries for the fruit and lightly salted roasted almonds for the nuts. Use any nut butter (almond butter is great, but I know, a bit pricey–but worth it!), and add ¼ teaspoon almond extract.
Apple Pie: Use chopped dried apples for the fruit and rice syrup or honey for the syrup. Be sure to add the cinnamon option, and use toasted walnuts or pecans for the nuts.
Chocolate Chip Cookie: Replace the dried fruit with an equal amount of semisweet miniature chocolate chips (or cacao nibs, or carob chips). Combine the cereal mixture with the syrup mixture, then let the combined mixture stand 10 minutes before adding the chips.
Pepita-Cranberry:Use chopped cranberries for the dried fruit and raw pepitas for the nuts/seeds. Use either honey or brown rice syrup.
Peanut Butter Cookie: Use chopped dates for the dried fruit and dry roasted peanuts for the nuts. Use honey, or half honey-half molasses for the syrup and peanut butter for the nut butter.