Each day since we were married up until about last January or February of 2012 Huz ate a Clif Bar each morning for breakfast before school. I would buy the variety pack from Sams Club which has 3 flavors: peanut butter, chocolate chip, & chocolate/peanut crunch. Occasionally I would find him another variety to try, but those 3 were the main flavors. To this day I am still not sure how he was able to eat them for as long as he did. A little math shows he consumed around 720 ( 4 Years X 180 Days in a school year). WOW
Enter winter of 2012, I am on a mission to get rid of processed crap in our diet & clif bars were on my hit list. After a lot of searching I found a few recipes I liked, merged them together then started to create. I needed to ensure that my homemade variety still had enough protein, were low-fat, kept well, tasted good and were resonablely priced. Thus lots of trials later, here is what I came up with… to this day Huz cannot go back.
Homemade “Mega-Bars” (No Bake!)
- 1 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal (Rice Krispies work great)
- 1 cup oatmeal – quick oats
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1/4 cup finely chopped dried fruit (e.g.,raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried apples, etc.)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped nuts or seeds
- 1/2 cup local raw honey (see below on where to find)
- 1/2 cup nut butter (preferably natural, well-stirred, but creamy is fine, too)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions: (The batch in the pictures uses peanut butter for the nut butter, dried cherries for the fruit, pistachios for the nut, and no cinnamon)
Combine the rice cereal, oats, ground flaxseed, dried fruit, and nuts in a large bowl. Add cinnamon at this time also if you are using it.
Next, 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.
Then, pour nut butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until coated use a wooden spoon at first, then I use a spatula to fully incorporate. If it gets hard to mix get your hands in it and really squish it up. 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 a meat tenderizer, or anything flat really press the mixture into the pan. Chill at least 30 minutes to help it set in the refrigerator.
Cut into bars. Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. They stay fresh for 3 to 4 months and have a nice chewy/cool taste when taken out of freezer. Also they defrost rather quickly. These are great to make for road trips, they will keep fresh for a week or so out of refrigeration. See finished product below.
Yield: 8 – 2×4 inch bars, about 6 grams of protein average, and for those that do weight watchers they are about 3-4 points depending on nuts and nut butters.
For Local Raw Honey, you can contact Justin by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org He is the local beekeeper (200 plus hives) and son-in-law to the fall farm market Schwalliers Country Basket in Sparta MI. He does sell his honey year round and offers all sorts of quantities from 3 oz bears to 5 gallon buckets.
How to make nut butter: They are expensive to buy so I make them all (pecan, walnut, almond) except for peanut butter, I buy the smuckers naturals. To get the 1/2 cup need for the recipe put 1 cup of raw nuts into a food processor, grinding them until they become sticky or paste-like. Add about 1/8 tsp salt. Then add about 1 tsp of oil (grape seed, olive, canola what ever you have around), a little bit at a time until the nut butter binds together. Done, nut butter ready for use!
Variations: Sky is the limit here… below are some I make…
- Dried Cherries, Almond Butter, Almonds. Sometimes I crush up a tablespoon of semi sweet chocolate chips and press them into the top of this bar.
- Dried apples, walnuts, walnut butter, and cinnamon
- Dried apples and cranberries, walnuts, walnut butter and 1/8 tsp of cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg
- Dried blueberries, pecans, pecan butter, and a tablespoon of dark chocolate chunks mixed in.
- Dried cherries, pistachios, and peanut butter
- Raisins, peanuts, peanut butter, sometimes a spice sometimes not.
- Dried mango and cranberries, almond butter, and almonds.
- Really what ever sounds good – try it. We have found that mixing the nut butters is too much and it detracts from the flavor, but mixing the dried fruit adds great variety some times.
Please let me know if you try to make some and come up with other wonderful variations. I am sure Huz would love to try some new flavors! Enjoy – Megan