~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Homemade LaraBar.... Fruit and Nut Bar( Gluten-Free)



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

Optional add-in:
1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened dried fruits....pineapple, apple, mango, apricots...etc
or
1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut(sometimes I add a bit more:)...because I love coconut)

Optional:
2-3 TBS Cocoa( I used Hershey's DARK and prefer it over the regular)
cocoa nibs

Flavorings of choice: to taste or skip altogether
cinnamon
vanilla
almond
rum
orange
pumpkin pie spice
mint

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.

15 comments:

Jennifurla said...

These look fantastic

Sailaja Damodaran said...

Mouthwatering healthy bars.Looks like no cooking is required here.Superb.....

Speranta said...

Delicioase si apetisante ...mereu ma suprinzi cu retete interesante !Sa ai o zi buna:)

MommaMindy said...

You continue to amaze and bless me! I just discovered LARA bars in an attempt to change our family's eating habits to healthier choices. However, they are expensive, and we don't always like all the flavors. Thank you!!!!

Ellie said...

Thanks Jennifer...

Sailaja...Yes, absolutely no cooking:)!

Speranta, Multumesc mult....

MommaMindy, You are most welcome!....These are definitely on the healthy side:)...plus, they are good. Sometimes healthy isn't so tasty:)...but we loved these.

megi said...

How did I miss this post! You made homemade LaraBars! I have seen an episode of Unwrapped on foodnetwork where they showed how the owner of the company first started making these bars, using a food porcessor and a knife! I'll make your recipe this weekend and share with friends.

Ellie said...

Megi, Oh, we LOVE these!
Funny , how someone can come up with something so good and with so few ingredients...

You can also make them in balls, rather than the traditional bar form.., they look pretty in paper liners, especially for gift giving. I like to make different flavors and cut them up differently, small squares, rectangles, etc.

Hope you enjoy these...

By the way, if you like dried figs...it works great with them also...just for a variety.

Nana said...

YUM! I have just started making a few recipes I found online for the current flavors but I love the ratio ideas to make my own flavors. I can't wait to get started!!!

Ellie said...

Nana, Thank for stopping by...glad I could be of help:)...

megi said...

Hi Ellie, I made these today, I am glad i doubled the recipe, they are fantastic, I shaped most of them into balls and placed them in pretty little brown paper cups, and the rest were shaped into bars. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe Ellie.

Ellie said...

Oh Megi, I am so glad you liked them!
I make them quite often, as I find them so much healthier...and often satisfies the sweet cravings:).

I am sure yours looked rather cute in the paper cups:)....they are GREAT for gift giving.

Thanks for your feedback...really appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting your recipe! I can't wait to try them!

Ellie said...

Anon, You are welcome. I sure hope you enjoy them...we love these bars:)!
Have a Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

These look delicious. Do you think it would be possible to keep these out of the fridge for a few days, for instance, for taking them on a trip? Thanks in advance.

Ellie said...

Anon, Oh yes, I've done that all the time:)... just keep them in a container so that they don't get all smooshed together.... even if they are individually wrapped or layered with a parchment paper.

Hope you enjoy them!