The first time I ate a Clif Bar was at the top of Vernal Falls in Yosemite. I was camping with my boyfriend’s (now husband) family. We had begun our hike with no goal in mind, but after a quick poll, we all determined it would be worth reaching the top. The Mist Trail offers the gamot of experiences – slippery rocks, skinny pathways, and sweeping vistas – and reaching the top was a physical, as well as mental, accomplishment.
We navigated those last rock stairs, pressing to the inside of the mountain to let others pass who were headed back down, and stepped onto a sunshine soaked plateau. I was in awe of the powerful surge of water flinging itself from such a height. I was also hungry! Tim had had the presence of mind to bring a couple snacks, so it was at the top of that rushing waterfall that I bit into my first Clif Bar. Maybe it was the endorphins from our climb speaking, but that Chocolate Chip Clif Bar was so ding dang delicious.
I’ve been a Clif Bar fan every since that mountain-top experience. We buy them in bulk from Costco (I was sad to see Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter disappear from the variety pack.) and I eat one almost every day. My favorite flavor rotates, but White Chocolate Macadamia and Coconut Chocolate Chip compete for the top spot often.
Even in the Costco pack, Clif Bars aren’t always practical for our tight budget and I’ve always wondered if I could replicate them at home to save some pennies. I’ve searched Pinterest multiple times but haven’t found what I was looking for, until last week.
Most copycat Clif Bar recipes didn’t have crispy rice cereal as an ingredient, despite that being a listed ingredient in the real thing. I wanted a recipe that had oats, crispy rice cereal, and didn’t rely on date paste as a sweetener. In walks Liv Lives Life with just what I was looking for, and a calorie count to boot.
The method is simple and relies on pantry staples. Oats and crispy rice cereal make up the bulk of the bars with flax meal for added nutrition. Honey and nut butter (I use crunchy peanut butter) act as the binder. There’s infinite possibilities for add-in customization, so you can recreate your favorite Clif Bar flavor or make up your own.
Now, these don’t quite have the Clif Bar texture, but the delicious factor makes up for any nuance lacking in the texture department. You could also try quick cookie oats, instead of old fashioned, to get a more dense crumb.
I adapted Liv’s basic Clif Bar method to create these Cinnamon Golden-Raisin beauties. I used a dram of Vanilla Butternut extract instead of vanilla which added a hint of butterscotch to these bars. Any type of raisin would work in this recipe, but I like the sweetness of golden raisins.
These Cinnamon Golden-Raisin Clif Bars are a great supplement to the pre-packaged variety. Plus, they taste like cookies…
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 dram (3/4 teaspoon) vanilla butternut extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 2 tablespoons flax meal
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with waxed paper (cut one strip that fits the bottom of the pan and allow some extra to stick up above the rim of the pan to use as handles). Set aside.
- In a saucepan, heat peanut butter and honey over medium heat until melted. Take off heat and add vanilla butternut flavoring. Stir to combine. Allow to cool while you mix together the other ingredients.
- In a large bowl, stir together the rice cereal, oats, flax meal, cinnamon, and golden raisins. Mix well – the flax meal has a tendency to stay clumped together. Add the peanut butter mixture to the oat mixture and stir until all the ingredients are well coated.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and press down firmly with a spatula until the top is even. You want to press down as firmly as you can so the bars are dense and hold together when cut.
- Let the bars cool in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cutting. To cut, lift the mixture out of the pan with wax paper handles. Cut into desired size bars – I liked what 8 pieces produced.
- Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator. (You don’t need to eat them cold, they just stay better in the fridge.)