September 24, 2012 by littlekitchenblog
What better way to kick off this blog party than with a recipe to fuel my all-time most favorite activity – running!
I remember tasting a PowerBar years ago, and to this day I can still recall its chalky, flavorless, and unusually dense texture. Enter the Clif Bar – a pleasant, FLAVORFUL, and highly caloric nugget of deliciousness that would keep me going through many long runs. I’ve been hooked ever since and embarrassingly spend no less than $20 a month on these suckers.
With that in mind, I decided it might be fun to concoct my own energy bar. One with a few simple ingredients that I already had in my kitchen and that could be put together in a short amount of time. Just for kicks I made them vegan, dairy, gluten, and nut free, but you can go cray cray and switch up the ingredients any which way you’d like.
The end product is a lighter, less dense version of my beloved Clif Bar. I cut mine into sixths and the calorie count comes in just under 225 per bar.
½ cup toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup dried dates, reconstituted and drained
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ cup agave
2 tablespoons applesauce
1¼ cups rice cereal
½ cup old fashioned oats
½ cup quick oats
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
Pulse sesame seeds in a food processor until a paste forms. This can take anywhere from 1-3 minutes – just keep pulsing. Add the reconstituted dates and salt to the sesame paste. Process the mixture until cohesive. Add the sesame/date paste to a saucepan with the agave and applesauce. Stir over medium heat until the ingredients are melted, smooth, and just beginning to simmer. Let cool for 2 minutes.
Add the rice cereal, oats, cinnamon, and cacao nibs to a large bowl. Pour the cooled paste mixture into the bowl and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to thoroughly coat all of the dry ingredients. Once mixed, add to a tinfoil lined 8×8 baking pan. Press the mixture down so that it’s really compacted (using a piece of plastic wrap is helpful for this step). Place in the refrigerator for a few hours to set. Cut into whatever size bars you’d like and wrap individually or place in an airtight container.
Note: I made 3 cuts, then decided to get wacky and form them into mini Clif Bars (my love runs deep). The sesame seeds give them a really interesting, nutty flavor, which I assume won’t be palatable for everyone. That being said, you can substitute the sesame paste with peanut butter, almond butter, or whatever butter you fancy. I imagine they’ll turn out just as good or better. No agave? Use honey or brown rice syrup. Just have quick oats? Use a full cup instead of half quick, half old fashioned.
Also, go crazy and spice up the bars with any add-ins you’d like. I’m a huge fan of cashews, raisins, and dried apricots so I might try that combo later this evening after I finish eating the first batch (I keeeeed… maybe).
So what do you think? Worth the effort or totally insane? What’s your favorite bar and flavor? I’m a purist and partial to the original chocolate chip.