Clif Bars. They were a staple of existence for us for a good while--Norm especially, as an energy source that could easily slip into a cycling jersey pocket. But earlier this fall we made a commitment to overall "cleaner" eating which, by our definition, meant eating even fewer processed foods. On the whole, we probably eat at least 75% fewer processed foods than a lot of people we know, but we figured there's still plenty of room for improvement. We felt this was one area where we could do better with homemade, and probably with very little effort.
So, take the ingredients of the Clif bar variety that was often found in our pantry (Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch) :
Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Rolled Oats, Soy Protein Isolate, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Peanut Butter, Rice Flour, Peanuts, Organic Soy Flour, Peanut Flour, Organic Oat Fiber, Organic Roasted Soybeans, Dried Cane Syrup, Unsweetened Chocolate‡, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Cocoa Butter‡, Barley Malt Extract, Soy Lecithin.
The first thing I'm going to say about this list is that there is not one, but THREE kinds of syrup listed, and one of them is the primary ingredient. The second thing I notice is that there are four sources of soy, and three kinds of flour. Yeah, I think I can do better. So what did I want from a homemade bar?
- 10 ingredients or less
- No baking or cooking
- Easily accessible pantry staples
- GREAT TASTE
Well, I'm happy to say, we got what we wanted. I now make a batch of these once a week, wrap them individually and keep them in the refrigerator. This recipe makes eight generous (Clif bar-sized) bars. I switch out the fruit, depending on what we have, or it can be left out entirely. The addition of cinnamon (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) with raisins as the fruit would be an awesome way to change it up as well. I use regular rolled oats, but you can make these gluten free by using G/F oats.
NO-BAKE ENERGY/SNACK BARS
Mix these dry ingredients together (scant measurement--don't go overboard with the dry items)
- 1 3/4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup puffed brown rice cereal
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup dried fruit (favorites here are blueberries, cranberries or cherries)
Put these wet ingredients (you can be generous with these measurements) in a microwave-safe measuring cup, and heat them for 30 seconds, to make them easier to incorporate into the dry ingredients:
- 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
- 1/4 cup all natural, creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry, and then turn into a 8 x 11.5 inch baking pan that has been lightly oiled (I use either coconut oil or avocado oil). Press the mixture firmly into the pan. It will be sticky--I find that applying a little of the oil to my fingertips as well as the pan can help in the pressing process. Refrigerate until firm, and then cut into whatever size bars or bites you wish. Wrap individually if desired, or cover the pan with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
If you try these, let me know how you think we did! Were we right to kick old Clif to the curb? What other healthy, delicious options can you come up with for this recipe?