Homemade LaraBar....Fruit and Nut Bar(Gluten-Free)...Making your own flavors! This bar in now my husband's new favorite snack/dessert...ok, I admit I really like them too:) These homemade LaraBars are just sooo good...
This recipe actually started with a July 4th visit from my brother and his wife... who initially introduced me to the LaraBar. I had never heard of them till then. I know, I know....why hadn't I known about them?! I guess it's probably because I really, really stay away from power bars, or protein bars for that matter. Of course, I will probably pass right by them in the store.... and never look twice. I am sure that is why I hadn't known about them:)....
But when my brother and his wife offered us a bar, I was seriously skeptical. They assured us the bars were really good...and that they come in all sorts of flavors. Hmmm....I quickly turned the bar over and checked the ingredients on the back. What... only 3 or 4 ingredients?! How could that be? Sure enough, I tasted and loved the LaraBars. Now, I kept thinking... Could I possibly make them at home? With so few ingredients, I figured I could give them a try...
These measurements work great for me, but you can probably adjust to your preference. The homemade Larabars are incredibly good the next day. All the ingredients have had time to "settle" together and they aren't so crumbly anymore. I always keep mine refrigerated.... I love them cold. I also found out that I actually prefer cutting the LaraBars in small squares. I took photos of the bars, but actually prefer the smaller pieces. They are a perfect snack especially when you crave something sweet. I love the fact that it is so much healthier. I can rest easy when I eat one:)! They are great to take on a picnic or outing. The bars are gluten-free as well and would make a lovely gift. This recipe is definitely a keeper, especially the chocolate/coconut version!
So, a big thanks to my brother and his wife who introduced us to the Larabars:). I, in turn, am sharing the recipe with you. Hope you enjoy...
Tip: I have made a variation to these bars by using dried Calimyrna figs instead of dates...just an idea:). My husband loved those as well. You will have those small seeds that figs are known for...but in case you would like to try them, just substitute the same amount of figs for the dates.
You will need: you will probably get about 4-6 bars( or so)...I made 3 batches, 3 flavors
1 scant cup nuts( or about 100 grams( sometimes I just add a cup)...any variety or a mixture...)
9 or 10 large medjool dates, processed to a paste
a pinch of salt, if you like
1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened dried fruits....pineapple, apple, mango, apricots...etc
1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut(sometimes I add a bit more:)...because I love coconut)
2-3 TBS Cocoa( I used Hershey's DARK and prefer it over the regular)
Flavorings of choice: to taste or skip altogether
pumpkin pie spice
My 3 flavors that I made and posted:
Chocolate coconut pecan...with orange or rum~My absolute favorite!!
Cashew.... with cinnamon
Walnut blueberry...with vanilla~ this was a mistake...well sort of,... after I put in a handful of blueberries, I realized that the blueberries were sweetened...they were delicious, but I couldn't really call them LaraBars:)...so then I made another version:)...
I made a tropical version using dates, macadamias, coconut and unsweetened dried pineapple...delicious.
Directions: Place pitted dates in food processor. Pulse several times to chop the dates in smallish pieces. Process again until the dates form a ball of paste...this will probably take close to a minute or so. It probably depends on how powerful your processor is and how fresh your dates are. The fresher the dates...the softer they are...the quicker they become paste.
Add nuts and any unsweetened dried fruit(if using),unsweetened shredded coconut(if using), cocoa( if using), cocoa nibs( if using).... as well as any flavors you like(optional). Pulse several times and then process for several seconds until it is combined. The nuts should be smallish. You want to be able to press the mixture and see it clump up..or stick together.
Knead the mixture a bit , if you like. Press the mixture in a parchment lined/plastic wrap or oiled rectangular dish. The dish/container should be small enough so that the bars are not too thin.
(After making a few batches, I found that using plastic wrap works well...no need for oil. I place a sheet of plastic wrap(large enough to encase the mixture) in my container, press the mixture in the container and then lift it out and wrap it. I proceed to do the next batch using the same container as a mold)
Refrigerate for half hour or so....I'll leave it for a few hours or overnight.
Cut in shapes....long bars or 2'x2' squares. If you would like, you can use the edge of a knife to form neat edges while pressing and compacting the bar.
Place bars in a covered container.... and refrigerate. You can stack the bars. I like to use some parchment paper between layers. Refrigerating the bars makes them not fall apart and keep its shape very well. I actually prefer leaving them in the fridge in a container.