I love Thursdays. As of September Friday will be my new day off, but for the moment Thursday is the day I don’t go to the office, I don’t stop in to do that one more little thing, I don’t obsess over my office email, I just Have The Day Off. Plus this is the last of 3 weeks when the kids are in summer camp all day on a Thursday, so I decided I wanted to make this one count. Spent the morning shopping and farmers-market-ing and the afternoon trying out recipes. You know, the kind of stuff that we can pretend is productive and useful and for the good of our families, but which we really just do because it’s FUN.
Yesterday posted that I’d found a very promising-looking recipe for homemade better-than-clif-type energy bars. Today, since it was my day off and I had the time, I tried making them. Below is the original recipe, which I actually (for a change!) followed diligently:
Homemade Cliff Bars (no bake!)
1 and 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal (e.g., Rice Krispies)
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed (flaxseed 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) (I used pecans)
1/4 cup brown rice syrup (or honey, maple syrup, or light molasses) (I used maple/agave)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/3 cup nut butter (e.g., peanut, almond, cashew, soynut) (I used almond)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine the rice cereal, oats, flaxseed meal, dried fruit, and nuts in a large bowl.
Bring the syrup and brown sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Stir in nut butter and vanilla until blended.
Pour nut butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until coated (mixture will be stiff). Press mixture firmly into an 8-inch square pan (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) using a large square of wax paper. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 12 bars. (Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator).
As fabulous as I think the author is, I did have some problems with the recipe. That it was too sweet was probably my fault; I got the organic brown rice cereal without realizing it was “lightly sweetened” (more so than I would have expected, too.) And I think because of the whole it-has-to-set thing, you can’t leave the brown sugar out, so that is sort of that.
But since I did follow it diligently, I was disappointed when the stuff wouldn’t set. There was just too much cereal and not enough goo, and what I got instead was a very nice sort of snack-granola-rice-krispie-treat thing that bore absolutely zero resemblance to a clif bar. (Which I don’t mind so much; I think they are vile. Which is why I was trying to come up with an alternative…)
The thing is, Clif bars as I remember them are basically sort of pasty mooshy goo, without many recognizable bits like rice cereal or rolled oats. So I tried a second batch, but this time I whirred the oats and rice cereal in the food processor before mixing them with the nut butter mixture. These were more successful, but they still didn’t set well enough to actually turn into slice-able bars when all was said and done. (I like the taste more, though!)
So…back to the drawing board, Iguess. Anyone who has any ideas or who has tried a recipe like this in the past, I’d welcome any advice! Energy bars are so crazy-expensive, I’d love a better way to get good results!