Recently, I’ve been accused of being a little snack-heavy, it’s true. I was actually thinking the same thing myself, I mean, a person can only eat so much whipped cream and sugar, right? Especially during bikini-season! While not entirely “healthy” (or un-treat-like), these homemade “Clif” bars are a great snack to sneak a bit of nutrition into your child (or lover, or own)’s lunchbox. I mean, they’re certainly less bad for you than, say, peanut butter pie.
We all know what “Clif” bars are, right? Those individually-wrapped bars they sell at the store for us to eat as a healthy snack? I’d heard that they weren’t hard to make at home, but never really had a reason to make them. Well, not until I was on this whole “no-bake” kick that I’ve been on.
I made a big batch and then stuck them in the freezer. I’ve been sneaking a couple into the BF’s bag before he goes to work, then they’re thawed and ready to eat by the time he needs a snack! (Not to mention taking them to work and storing them in my desk for “’emergencies”) I mean, this is a totally normal desk drawer, right?
They aren’t exact replicas of the Clif bars you find in stores, they’re a bit crunchier (which I actually liked) but I’m sure you could get the texture a bit closer if you reduce the crisp rice cereal (or increase the dates) a bit. I also like that I could make these smaller than the bars you find in the store. I can’t be the only one who thinks that they are a bit big (and calorie-dense) for a snack, but still too small to be a meal-replacement. You can cut these into any size you like, and I find these bite-size squares to be the perfect size for snacking.
I really wish that I had mini chocolate chips on hand, but I had apparently ran out, so i had to use regular size instead. They’re definitely not as pretty. Plus, with mini chips, the chocolate would be able to distribute more evenly throughout the bars. I guess I could have whirled the mixture a bit more in the food processor to chop them up a bit…
Another great thing about these bars is that they are infinitely adaptable, you could make combos like dark-chocolate-almond, peanut-butter-“jelly” (by adding other types of dried fruit), cashew-cherry, or even a berries-and-cream version with dried fruit and yogurt or white chocolate chips! Of course, I’m sure that you will all be shocked to learn that I went with peanut butter & chocolate for my first batch. What can I say, I’m
A warning though… when I tried to switch back to the regular store-bought Clif bars, I got a text asking where the homemade ones were, and why didn’t I put those in the bag, was I hoarding them for myself? So… yeah, if you are going to start making these, be ready to keep making them, because the regular ones just won’t do.
Of course, the reason these are here, you don’t even have to turn on the oven!
DIY Clif Bars
Makes 16 to 25 bars, or as many as you slice 😉
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1¼ cups crisp rice cereal
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped nuts (I used cashews)
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ⅓ cup brown rice syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips; plus an extra tablespoon or two, separated
1. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with saran wrap and set aside.
2. Combine peanut butter and brown rice syrup in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 50% power for one minute and stir until combined. If you need to microwave longer, microwave in 30 second intervals until the peanut butter is melted.
3. Process pitted dates in a food process until pureed. Add oats, flaxseed, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla and continue to puree. Once uniform in texture, add rice cereal and process until combined. Add peanut butter mixture and continue processing until incorporated, you will probably have to scrape down the sides. Note: It will be very sticky.
4. Finally, add the nuts and process again until they are chopped to the desired size, then add chocolate chips and pulse just a few times to distribute them through the “dough”. Once processed, scrape into 8-inch pan and press firmly to mold to the shape of the pan. If desired, sprinkle the extra tablespoon or two on top and gently press into the date mixture.
5. Chill bars in the refrigerator for about 1 hour, or until firm. Cut into bars, then wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to one week, or freeze up to a couple months. (I keep mine frozen and pop one or two into my bag before I head to work, by the time I need a snack they’re thawed and ready to eat!)
[ Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker ]