Note: This article has recently (10.22.12) become very popular with you Pintrest users. Welcome! However, this is a CLIFF bar, not a Granola bar! They’re supposed to be gooey and chewy. When you modify the recipe to include 95% granola, you’ve simply reinvented the granola bar. The big draw of a Cliff Bar is that it’s not a crumbly mess when you try and eat it (along with tasting something unlike a bland, crunchy breakfast cereal). The desired consistency should be closer to a Samoa-style Girl Scout cookie or a (very healthy) Snickers bar. Please keep this in mind before you overload it with crunchy granola or oats and make this in to something it’s not. Alton Brown has some great recipes for that sort of thing. Slightly chewy, and full-of-flavor-without-tasting-like-oats is what made Cliff bars popular and the brand that it is today. Moving right along…
Googling “Clif Bar Recipe” is a frustrating experience. You end up with pages upon pages of recipes for granola bars, which, if you talk to anyone who’s had a real Clif Bar, is the opposite of what you’re trying to make. Clif Bars have a taffy like, caramelized flavor. They usually sell for about $2 a piece, but can often be found on sale for $1 each. I suspect this is due to their relatively short shelf life, owing to their lack of preservatives.
If you’re new to Clif Bars, they’re famous for being an energy bar that doesn’t taste awful (they’re quite good, actually) and have identifiable ingredients. They’re also gluten free, if you’re in to that sort of thing. Rice and Oats don’t have gluten in them (being the primary carbohydrate ingredients in the bars).
Anyways, after years of searching on and off, I finally found a recipe that makes something that resembles a real Clif Bar, without the overabundance of oats held together with a minimum amount of binders. It even looks like an honest to god Clif Bar:
• 1 and 1/4 cups of Rice Krispies
• 1 cup of uncooked quick-cooking oats
• 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed meal
• 1/4 cup of finely chopped dried cherries
• 1/4 cup of finely chopped roasted almonds
• 1/4 cup of brown rice syrup
• 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
• 1/3 cup of almond butter
• 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the Rice Krispies, quick-cooking oats, flaxseed meal, dried tart cherries, and chopped almonds.
- Combine the rice syrup and dark brown sugar in a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. You will want to stir the mixture the entire time, it will only take around a minute to boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the almond butter, vanilla extract, and almond extract until your mixture is blended.
- Pour the liquid mixture over the dry mixture, and stir until evenly coated. As the liquid cools, the mixture will become stiff. I used my hands to combine the mixture, like kneading bread.
- Spray an 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray and press the mixture into the pan. Use wax paper to help press the mixture flat and even across the pan.
- Allow the pan to cool for about an hour and cut into 6 hearty-sized energy bars.
To store the bars, wrap them and store them in the refrigerator. For long term storage, you can freeze the bars. Challenged, or novice cooks may add up to an additional 1/4 cup of brown rice syrup to improve adhesion of dry ingredients.