My husband runs out the door with a Clif Bar in hand most weekday mornings. As a result, the kids think they are the greatest things ever and we had gotten into the habit of snacking on these bars when out and about or traveling.
The bars seem healthy enough, but quite high in sugar and really, when there are that many ingredients, I start to wonder. I couldn’t help but think that a homemade alternative would be much-appreciated in my household. Furthermore, the activity itself sounded like something I could easily do with my kids…a bonus for any multi-tasking parent…and the $1-$1.99 price tag on these babies would not be missed in the slightest.
Google lead me to numerous recipes where I found one I liked (http://enlightenedcooking.blogspot.com/2008/06/homemade-cliff-bars-no-bake.html). I made a few minor adjustments and went to town. I’ve made these fabulous homemade “clif” bars numerous times and there is plenty of room for variation depending on tastes, allergies and whatever you may have in the pantry. The key is to keep dry and wet ingredient amounts consistent with the original recipe. I double this recipe which for me yielded 16 bars.
- 1 1/2 cups puffed rice or puffed wheat cereal
- 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal or almond meal)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dried fruit (e.g., raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, etc.)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (preferably roasted or toasted)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (optional but they seem to stick a bit better with sugar)
- 1/3 cup nut butter (e.g., peanut, almond, cashew, soynut)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
2. Bring the honey and brown sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat (I have used agave nectar for part of the honey/syrup but never used entirely agave), stirring constantly; remove from heat.
3. Stir in nut butter and vanilla until blended. (I leave on heat but lower the temp while adding the nut butter and stir until all smooth)
4. Pour nut butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until all dry ingredients are coated (mixture will be stiff). The nut butter mix can be hot at first so check temp and then feel free to let the kids mix and squeeze with their hands in order to incorporate the two mixtures together.
5. Press mixture firmly into an 8-inch square pan (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) using a large square of wax paper. Use a larger 9 x 12 pan or 1/4 sheet pan if doubling).
The kids love to partake in this step as well.
6. Cool in pan. Cut into whatever size bars are needed in your house.
Wrap bars in wax paper if being eaten soon (they will keep like this for a week or so) or wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. If storing in the refrigerator, take out and bring to room temp before eating.