Last night we were cozied up on the sofa after having just polished off two large bowls of popcorn and all I could think about was what to nibble on next. These unstoppable snack attacks have been going on for weeks now. Their demands insistently vacillating between salty and sweet. If I’ve just worked through the aforementioned heap of popcorn then next must come ice cream or chocolate…or both. Mostly both.
One of my favorite on-the-go snacks is a good protein or granola bar, specifically, the Clif Bar. They’re easy to keep around, most closely resemble a soft, chewy cookie and during long work days they successfully calm the beast. Given my constant peckish’ness these days I’ve been working on keeping healthy, clean snacks within arms reach. So, this weekend, I spent some time concocting my own version of the Clif bar.
My first attempt was about as basic as it gets. Dates, nuts, a bit of organic nut butter, a little maple syrup and a pinch of salt. They were delicious but didn’t pack enough hearty crunch. They also were a little wet…not firm enough to be handled like a sturdy protein or granola bar. So, for round two I doubled the nuts, added dried cherries and granola.
Done and dusted.
Let’s talk about granola for a second. In my experience it’s really hard to find store-bought granola that tastes delicious but doesn’t contain a bunch of refined sugars or other unwanted additives. That said, I’ve found that making homemade granola is completely worth the little bit of time that it takes. It always tastes so much better and is, generally speaking, better for you. That said, I will always encourage both you and I to make our own granola whenever possible. My all-time favorite recipe is the Big Cluster Maple Granola from Deb at Smitten Kitchen.
That’s my point of view on granola. That is also a disclaimer. Now for the granola in this recipe. While we were between houses and doing less cooking at “home” I embarked on a quest to find a delicious, nutrient-dense, gluten-free, organic granola that was also free of refined sugars. Mission accomplished, it’s called Purely Elizabeth’s. It’s all of the above…so satisfying. So, if you’re all “Heather, I will never ever make these things if I have to make my own granola” or if you’re just not in the mood, I totally feel you. In that case I encourage you to give this brand a go.
At the end of the day, these homemade Clif Bars are as simple as a dump of some delicious, good-for-you ingredients and a good whirl in the food processor. The only special note for you here is about the texture of the processed mixture. You may feel that it’s too dry/crumbly after you’ve processed but before you go adding more maple syrup or almond butter grab a large spoonful and give it a good squeeze in the palm of your hand. It should bind together firmly without falling apart.
These are blow-your-mind tasty and just as easy to pull together with no preservatives, no refined sugars or gluten and they completely satisfy my irrational demand for treats at all times. Happy snacking!
- Add all ingredients to food processor and process until all ingredients are well combined (about 40 seconds)
- Test the mixture's ability to bind by spooning a large mound of mix in the palm of your hand and squeezing. The mixture should stay bound with firm pressure
- Empty mixture into parchment lined baking pan
- Press mixture firmly into pan forming a square for bars that are about ¾" deep
- Score the bars with a knife so that they can be easily cut once set
- Place pan in the freezer for at least 30 minutes
- Remove from freezer and cut into individual bars
- Wrap each individually so that you can easily toss one or two in your bag on your way out the door
- Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks