I'm all about finding snacks that are quick and healthy for my family. Convenience is one thing, but I always prefer homemade if I can manage it. I discovered Cliff Bars a few years ago when the Munchkin was still a baby and breastfeeding like crazy. The protein bars tasted pretty good, plus it was a quick way for me to eat something while dealing with a newborn. However, like most healthy things they aren't cheap. Now that I'm back working shift work that usually means lots of quick nutrient filled snacks that I can munch down during my break. Enter the recipe for Homemade Cliff Bars!
1 1/2 cup puffed rice cereal (I used Brown Rice Crispies)
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
3 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup finely chopped dried fruit (I used a combo of raisins and cranberries)
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)
1/3 cup honey (can be changed for maple syrup or agave)
2 tbsp dark brown sugar (optional but it helps the bars stick together)
1/3 cup nut butter (Love my almond butter!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1) Combine cereal, oats, flaxseed, dried fruit, and nuts into a large bowl
2) In a small saucepan over medium-high heat bring the honey and brown sugar to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
3) Stir nut butter and vanilla into honey/sugar mixture until blended and smooth (you may need to keep it over low heat)
4) Pour nut butter/honey mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until all dry ingredients are coated (it will be stiff). The nut butter mixture will be hot so check the temp first before you decide to use your hands or get the kiddos involved.
5) Press mixture firmly into an 8 inch square pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, using a large piece of wax paper to keep the mixture from sticking to your hands.
6) Cool in pan then cut into bars!
I didn't have wax paper left over for wrapping, so I just used plastic wrap and it worked fine. These stored in the fridge nicely for about a week.
These were really excellent and turned out nicely. Obviously not as thick or heavy as Cliff bars, but probably more nutritious. Next time I'd probably double the recipe to make them a bit thicker.
A nice big win for the munchkin. And a great mid-morning snack!