Cinnamon oatmeal cookie bars: sorta kinda like Clif Z-bars

Cinnamon oatmeal cookie bars: sorta kinda like Clif Z-bars

My kids eat a lot of Clif Z-bars when we are out adventuring – biking, hiking, skiing. Also other strenuous activities like walking to school for pick-up. Or swinging at the playground. I have a lot of guilt about all those wrappers – they can’t be composted, they can’t be easily recycled, and they end up in landfills. UGH. So avoidable, and yet, I keep purchasing them and we keep tossing them.

But new year, new resolutions, right? {Sidebar: happy new year, friends! May it be less of a dumpster fire than 2019!} One of my resolutions this year is to purchase *zero* bars in single-use wrappers. We have a Costco stash currently in the pantry, so we’ll finish those, but after that? I’m not doing it!

Have you ever seen this amazing woman on Instagram, @tiny.trash.can? You should go check her page out and get yourself inspired. She and her family produce so little trash each week that it can (usually easily) fit in the smallest Mason jar. Pretty awesome. I’m not sure I can get quite that far, but I can sure try, and no singly-wrapped bars is a very achievable start.

I make a good granola bar, but my kids aren’t always enamored with them, probably because I try to cram in too much healthy stuff. So, because of the enduring popularity of the Iced Oatmeal Cookie Clif Z-bar with the four-year-old of the family (he really strongly prefers it, even over the Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Chip flavors, is he even mine), I set out to replicate the recipe so I could toss them into a reusable container and avoid the wrapper situation. Truth be told, I failed in my replication efforts, but worry not, because these are better. Much less sweet, less sticky, and more cinnamonny. To my mind, these are all improvements, and said four-year-old only wants to eat these, all day long and with zero exceptions. So, I think they are a win.

Pre-baked compressed oatmeal cinnamon cookie bars
Compressing the bars before baking using an oiled spatula helps them retain their shape.
Close up baked cinnamon oatmeal cookie bars
We may have eaten a few before taking the pictures.

Cinnamon oatmeal cookie bars

Servings 8 bars


  • 1 cup rolled oats (100g)
  • 3 pitted dried dates (45g)
  • 1 tbsp oil Coconut, sunflower, canola – whatever works!
  • 2 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (30g)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C. I make these in our toaster oven because it preheats so quickly.

  2. Place the rolled oats in a food processor and let it grind away for about 30 seconds.

  3. Add the dates into the food processor, and pulse until the dates are relatively uniformly distributed.

  4. Add in the oil, brown rice syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, almond flour, and baking soda, and pulse the food processor until it is all about the size of small bread crumbs and evenly mixed.

  5. Line a standard size loaf pan with parchment. Dump the contents of the food processor into the loaf pan and spread evenly, then press down to compress with a lightly oiled spatula (or your hands). Be firm! This will help the bars stay together.

  6. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to partially cool while still in the pan on a cooling rack.

  7. Before they are totally cooled, lift the parchment paper out of the loaf pan and cut into eight equally sized bars. I used a bench scraper, but a large knife would also work. Allow to completely cool before storing in an airtight container.

Attempting to replicate a favorite snack is great fun. I’ve had a delightful time playing with the amazing Bravetart cookbook and her replications of iconic American desserts: Nilla wafers, Heath bar, Oreos, graham crackers. Has anyone successfully replicated Brussels Pepperidge Farm cookies?

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