Monday, July 22, 2013

Homemade Lara Bars {aka Date-Nut Bars}

(coconut cream, pictured)

Have you ever had "Lara Bars" before?  They are, quite simply, a bar made up of dates and nuts.  Some have other additions, but the base is always dates and nuts.  I tried them for the first time a few years ago and thought they were quite good.  Since then I've always wanted to make my own since the ingredients are so simple.  If you haven't used dates before, don't be afraid.  They are a fruit that grows on a date palm tree (my sister in Florida has one in her yard!).  You can buy them with or without the pit - just remove it if you buy them with, it's very easy.  I've found them at Costco and several other grocery stores.  They are naturally very sweet and sticky, so they are great for binding things together and providing sweetness.

This was my 3rd attempt and so I've now tried quite a few different kinds - Peanut Butter, Cashew Cookie, Coconut Cream, Pecan Pie, Chocolate Almond, and Chocolate Coconut.  The chocolate varieties tasted like candy bars, so not exactly healthy, but they're fun to have as a treat - and with no refined sugars!  If you have a food processor, these come together in about 5 minutes.  You throw in the nuts, add the dates, add anything else, process until everything starts to clump together, and then press into a pan.  Pretty easy!

Left to right: peanut butter, coconut cream, chocolate almond, pecan pie

There are all sorts of combinations you could try, but these are the ones I've done.  The process is the same for each bar, so I'll list all the ingredient combinations and then the simple directions.  Use raw, unsalted nuts for all the recipes and make sure you remove the pits from the dates if unpitted.  Enjoy!

Homemade Lara Bars

Peanut Butter
1 c. peanuts
1 c. dates

Pecan Pie
1 c. mixed raw pecans and almonds
1 c. dates

Cashew Cookie
1 c. cashews
1 c. dates

Coconut Cream Pie
1 c. mixed raw almonds and cashews
1 c. dates
1 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
2 T. coconut oil

Chocolate Coconut
1 c. mixed almonds and walnuts (or pecans)
1 c. dates
1 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
4 T. cocoa powder

Chocolate Almond (tastes like Snickers)
1 c. almonds
1 c. dates
1/2 c. dark chocolate (chips or block, chopped)
1 T. natural peanut butter

In bowl of food processor, add nuts and process until finely chopped.  Add dates and process until it starts to come together into a clump or dough.  If using other additions, add them to the mixture and pulse until it is evenly mixed and comes together in a sticky ball.  Press into a pan (depending on how many batches you do - 8x8, 9x13, or cookie sheet) lined with parchment paper of aluminum foil.  Refrigerate for about an hour and then cut into desired shapes and sizes.

I like to then wrap mine in parchment or foil, place in ziploc bags and store in the refrigerator or freezer.  If refrigerated, they should last a few weeks, longer if frozen.  They are pretty sticky, so they're easier to handle if cold.  If storing them in the freezer, just take them out a few minutes before serving, or throw them in your bag before an outing for an easy snack!
Source: Rawified

1 comment:

Joyful Noise said...

They grew dates on the farm where Dad grew up. He LOVES dates! Have you done a price comparison to figure out about how much these cost compared to Lara Bars at Costco? I would be interested in finding out the cost. Lara Bars are my favorite! Good job!