Saturday, June 25, 2011

Homemade Lara bars

By the time this is posted, my husband and I will be somewhere in the United States (how specific).  Not sure where but I do know that we'll have a long car trip ahead of us.  Last year, we actually had a great time on our drive out to California and the time passed surprisingly quickly with music, talking and podcasts.  Oh, and of course, trip food.  In anticipation for our trip, I've been busy in the kitchen the last few days making my first attempt at homemade beef jerky and homemade Lara bars for our trip, not to mention stocking up on some fresh fruit and crudites from the farmers market one more time.  The homemade jerky certainly tasted good to me but the Lara bars are really what I can't wait to eat.

I do like the Lara bars you can buy in the store because they always keep their ingredient list under ten (and it's always things you can pronounce) but they're just so expensive at $1+ for each bar.  So, of course, I made them myself instead of buying them.   These knock-off version of Lara bars are seriously good (even better than the official bars, we think) and cheaper to make.  Plus, they really don't take much time: throw things into a food processor, mix everything together by hand, refrigerate, and then you've got a delicious snack.  I added dried cranberries to these bars (and was this close to adding dried cherries but I wanted to eat them instead) because I ran out of dates and had cranberries in our pantry. We loved the flavor of these bars although it would be so easy to use different kinds of nuts or dried fruit to suit your tastes or what you have on hand.

Homemade Lara Bars Taken from: Deliciously Organic
Makes 10 bars (I halved this recipe and used a 4x8 loaf pan instead)
  • 4 1/2 cups pitted dates (I used the equivalent of 2 1/2 cups of dates and 2 cups of dried cranberries)
  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of sea or kosher salt
  1. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper (horizontally and vertically) and then brush with coconut oil or canola cooking spray.
  2. Pour dates into food processor and process until they become paste-like and form a ball in the bowl (if your dates are very dry you can add a tablespoon or two of hot water to help them break down). Pour dates into a large mixing bowl. Place almonds and pecans in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Pour the nuts over the dates and also add the vanilla, cinnamon, and pinch of salt. Using your hands, mix all ingredients until combined. Press mixture into baking pan, cover (I just used the parchment that was hanging over the sides of the pan) and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and cut into 10 evenly-sized bars.
**You can substitute just about any type of nut for the ones listed. If you used all almonds, then some almond extract would be great (omitting the cinnamon). Other dried fruits would work well with these too.


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