Homemade Cliff Bars and Homemade Lara Bars

I have been doing a little experimenting in the kitchen.  I used to love to bake as it was my stress reliever in undergrad and law school.  After the “real world” and for no reason at all, I stopped baking.  Now I will cook dinner as needed and will do the occasional baking i.e. strawberry pie, cookies for special occasions, etc. but I have lost my passion for baking.  I am not sure that my little experiment in the kitchen will bring back to life my love for baking (as no actual baking was needed) but its a start.

As I have mentioned before, Drew is in school and needs to have a little snack to get him through his late night classes.  After taste testing numerous bars (earlier post), he loves Cliff bars and Lara bars.  They are the classics for our family in the realm of bars.  Doing research online I noticed that many people make their own bars in order to save a little cash and to actually know what is going in the bars.  I decided why the heck not and went to Trader Joe’s to pick up some supplies!

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Trader Joe’s has the best ingredients

Many of the recipes online called for the same base ingredients: Dates and Rolled Oats.  I decided to make a hybrid of a lot of different recipes and came up with two delicious bars.  Please note that I purchased the ingredients to make 4 different recipes and ended up just coming up with a hybrid of the recipes–oops!

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Which is better?!

First up and my favorite: Peanut Butter and Cranberry Yum Bars

Combine in a food processor:

  • Half a container of dates, approx. 15 (medjools are already soft, if you have regular dates you may need to soak them)
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of rolled oats (many recipes called for quick cook, but I only found rolled oats at TJs, unsure if they are quick or regular and they worked fine!)
  • 3 heaping scoops of peanut butter, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 1/4 cup of dried cranberries
  • a sprinkle of freeze dried strawberries

I turned the food processor on and let it do its thing.  Then press the ingredients in a 8 by 8 pan and freeze for 30 minutes or put in the fridge for an hour.  Remove and slice into bars.  Individually wrap and store.

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First Bar

Second up: Hodge Podge of Ingredients Bar

Combine in a food processor:

  • Half a container of dates, approx. 15
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup rice cereal
  • cinnamon

Microwave for 1 minute the following wet ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2-3 Tablespoons honey

Pour the wet ingredients into the food processor along with:

  • freeze dried strawberries (half the bag, about 1/2 cup)

When all the ingredients are combined add:

  • 1/4 cup of chocolate chips

Pour and press in a 8 by 8 pan and freeze for 30 minutes or put in the fridge for an hour.  Remove and slice into bars.  Individually wrap and store.

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Second Bar

I found that the second bars were a lot more dense than the first.  The flavor of the cinnamon really shinned through in the second bar too.  However, I like the simplicity and overall taste of the first bar.

It can be confusing when comparing recipes especially when there are so many different varieties of similar recipes!  Tips for when comparing recipes:

  • Take note of the same ingredients used–for making bars dates, oats and peanut butter are key
  • You don’t need to follow recipes ingredient by ingredient: it is okay to venture out and make your own creation; I am type A and have a problem not following the rules but it ended up paying off
  • Experiment and have fun–different recipes called for different ways of preparing the bars, i.e. baking v. no bake; I hate dirtying a ton of dishes so I made it simple and just threw all the ingredients in the food processor

Have a great day 🙂

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Off to walk this little lady 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Homemade Cliff Bars and Homemade Lara Bars

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