Saturday, June 08, 2013

You say homemade CLIF Bars; I say fancy Rice Krispie treats.

One of my friends from college, Heather, has a special interest Facebook page called Healthy Cooking on a Budget. Recently, she asked people if they they knew of good recipes for homemade power bars. I read through the responses, and the following recommendation for homemade CLIF Bars looked delicious and EASY! And I must admit, it has made my life much easier this week by being able to grab one of these energy bars as I run out the door to work. I will be making them, and their endless possible variations, again and again.

Homemade CLIF Bars (No Bake!)
(Source: adapted from Power Hungry)

Note: This recipe can be doubled pressed into a 13×9-inch pan instead of an 8-inch pan.

1 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal (I used Cocoa Krispies!)
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats (I used old-fashioned oats)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed/flaxseed meal (I used whole flaxseeds)
1/4 cup finely chopped dried fruit (e.g., raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, etc.)
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts or seeds (I doubled the nuts, using pepitas and macadamias)
1/3 cup honey, maple syrup or brown rice syrup (I used honey)
1/2 cup nut or seed butter of your choice, e.g., peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter (I used this awesome organic maple almond butter we got last summer in the Hudson Valley)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Combine the rice cereal, oats, flaxseed meal, dried fruit, and nuts in a large bowl.
2. 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.
3. 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).
4. 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).
5. Cool in pan on a wire rack, then chill at least 30 minutes to help it set.
6. 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 1/4 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.

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