If you’ve hung around me enough you will know that I’m never without a Clif bar. In my purse, in the car and when we’re traveling, in my carry-on bag. It is a habit I’ve picked up as a cyclist or more likely it’s as my husband says…I’m just “always hungry”. Clif bars are conveniently packaged, are very easy to carry around, they last quite a long time, come in tons of flavors and really do provide that energy boost and silence the hunger pangs.
I’ll go for months favoring one particular flavor over the others (peanut butter, oatmeal raisin walnut, mint chocolate). The flavor of the moment is their Blueberry Crisp and I’ve got my eye on Coconut Chocolate Chip, too. The blueberry bar has such a pleasant, fresh taste compared to the other varieties. Typically, one bite or two is enough to tide me over until I have a real meal but I have to say I’ve had no trouble eating an entire blueberry bar. I don’t really know what prompted me to attempt to make them at home since I have a full supply in the pantry but I did exactly this as soon as we returned home from Palm Springs a few days ago.
I found this recipe from the Power Hungry site which I used as the foundation for my version. I really wanted to incorporate the blueberry flavor and to add the other ingredients that I like and I’m happy to say it worked here. While I generally like peanuts, I had a feeling that using peanut butter as a binder and peanuts for the crunch would overpower the blueberries. Instead, I used the almond butter that I shared in my previous post and it worked out very well. The almond butter provided a nutty quality but it also let the other ingredients shine. The pine nuts, to me, made sense because of their size and mellow flavor and I added whole flaxseeds (per the original recipe there is flaxseed meal in here, too) simply because I’m crushing on them right now and keep looking for ways to use them. They worked perfectly here (and may I suggest sprinkling them over greek yogurt? Yum.).
Most homemade energy bars use brown rice syrup as a sweetener/binder but I didn’t have that; I had agave sweetener. The latter, by volume, is much sweeter than plain sugar while brown rice syrup is less so (though I’ve read that agave nectar has a lower glycemic number). I adjusted quantities based on this information, supplemented with honey and came up with a ratio that I was very pleased with–there was enough liquid to bind all the dry ingredients but there is no sweet aftertaste at all. The blueberries shine here which is what I was after all along.
For legal reasons I don’t think I can call these Clif bars, right? But if you’ve sampled the widely popular product before, you know that these bars really look nothing like the original bars that inspired them. Compared to the Clif product these have a lot more rice cereal, oats and nuts (and flaxseed) but they do share the fresh, fruity taste that you’ll love after you take a bite of one of these bars. It’s all the taste, energy and nutrition you’ll need combined in one convenient little bar.
- 1¼ cups crisp rice cereal
- ¾ cup + ⅛ cup oats (or a full 1 cup per original recipe) (I used old-fashioned oats)
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
- 1 tablespoon whole flaxseeds
- ¼ cup dried blueberries
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ½ cup almond butter (here’s my homemade version)
- 1½ tablespoons honey
- 2 – 2½ tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prepare an 8×8-inch baking pan by spraying with cooking spray and lining the bottom with wax paper with overhang on two sides.
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: rice cereal, oats, flaxseed meal, flaxseeds, blueberries and pine nuts.
- In another smaller bowl, combine the honey, agave sweetener and almond butter. Heat this mixture up either in the microwave (30 seconds at a time, stirring in between) or on the stove just until the mixture is smooth and you can stir everything together easily. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. You may need to use your hand to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated completely. Press the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and make sure to really press down. I lined the top with wax paper and used the bottom of a glass to press down. Cool on a wire rack (if your liquid mixture was pretty hot) then refrigerate for at least a half hour to help the bars set. I cut mine in 8 1×2-inch bars. Wrap the bars in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.