I first became aware of Lara Bars on a weight-loss blog I was reading. Yes, I read weight-loss blogs from time to time. Sometimes they have great recipes!
Anyway, I was intrigued by their schtick–soy free, dairy free, raw, vegan and nutritious, made mostly from fruits and nuts. So I went out and bought a few on sale for a dollar each at Stop and Shop. I was instantly hooked. Sweet, slightly savory, and ultra filling, but usually maxing out somewhere just over 200 calories apiece, they made a great on-the-go snack, and for someone who’s on-the-go a lot, this was very appealing. Less appealing was the $1 each price tag (more when not on sale).
So, I hit the web, and started looking for recipes for my own. And I found Damy Health. Amy Layne came up with recipes that approximate the flavors and ingredients of almost all of the varieties of Lara Bars. I bow down to her awesomeness. I then went out to Whole Foods and purchased ingredients for my favorite so far, the PB&J bar.
Homemade PB&J Lara Bars (via Damy Health)
I quadrupled(ish) the recipe, to yield 12 bars. The recipe below yields about 3 bars)
1/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup seedless, pitted dates
- 1/2 cup raw peanuts (I used roasted, salted)
- 1tbsp creamy natural peanut butter
- pinch sea salt (I omitted this since my nuts were salted)
1. Place the dates and cherries in a food processor. Blend until it forms a paste. Transfer to a separate bowl. (I do not own a food processor. I used a blender. It sucked. A lot. I ended up with lots of chunks because my blender was not up to the task. If you don’t have a food processor, be forewarned that you’re in for a tough time of it.)
2. Add nuts to the food processor and chop until they are very small pieces.
3. Add nuts, salt and peanut butter to fruit paste. Knead together with your hands. This is fun! You get your hands all gooey and yucky!
4. Spread parchment paper onto a sheet tray, and press your fruit and nut “dough” evenly into the pan. I used an empty bottle to roll it flat and a cutting board to keep the edges clean.
5. Let set in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, then, using a sharp knife, cut into individual bars.
6. Wrap in saran wrap or use individual baggies to seal in freshness.
And there you have it! Homemade fruit and nut bars. Unfortunately, because I bought my ingredients at Whole
Paycheck Foods, the bars ended up costing about the same as they would in the grocery store:
The Peanuts were $4.49, the cherries were $4.99 and the dates were $4.99, for a total cost of about $15.00 (including PB I already had), and I only got 12 bars. However, I’m sure that if I bought non-organic ingredients at the regular supermarket, they would be cheaper to make. And despite the cost issue, they are SUPER tasty!
What’s your favorite flavor?