Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Homemade Lara bars

Have you ever tried a Lara bar?  They are a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, non-gmo, vegan, and kosher energy bar.  Those probably aren't words you associate with a delicious treat but Lara bars are really good. The ingredient lists are super simple and do not contain any added sugar.  For example the peanut butter cookie dough bar has dates, peanuts, and salt.  That is it!  They are a favorite snack around here.  Hannah and Ben have been feigning starvation every time we are in Target so that I will buy them one.  They don't even ask for a candy bar anymore.  They are that good!

The only drawback with Lara bars is that they are $1.50 each.  Multiply that by two kids who eat snack twice a day and that healthy treat adds up quickly.  I decided to try and create my own bars.  Hannah bars?  Benjamin bars?  I'm still not sure what to call them.

We have tried two types of bars so far.  The chocolate covered pecan is a hit!  They are rich and decadent, two of my favorite chocolate qualities.  I cut them into small bites rather than bars because they are so rich.

Chocolate Covered Pecan Bars (makes a 9x9 pan - 8 full size bars)
1 1/2 c. pitted dates
1/2 c. raisins
1 c. pecans
4 Tbs. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1)  Put the pecans in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Use some of this to "flour" a 9x9 pan.
2)  Add the rest of the ingredients to the nuts (in the the processor) and process until the mixture starts to come together.
3)  Pour the mixture (will have a play dough-like consistency) into a medium bowl and knead it all together.
4)  Put the mixture into the 9x9 pan and press it down to form a smooth and even layer.
5)  Chill for an hour or so and slice into bars (or bites). Store covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.

We have also tried the cashew cookie dough bars.  These were enjoyed but not as much as the previous recipe. 

Cashew Cookie Dough Bars
1 1/3 c. pitted dates
2 c. raw cashews

1)  Pulse the cashews and dates together in the food processor.
2)  Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and knead together.  Pour into a 9x9 pan.
3)  Chill an hour or so and then slice to the desired size.

I found a few more recipes courtesy of google and adjusted the recipe to make a full pan of bars.  Most recipes only serve 2.  That makes no sense to me.  I want to make a bunch so I have a quick healthy snack on hand for a few days.  I haven't tried these recipes yet but they sound yummy!

Very Cherry Bars
1 c. pitted dates
1 c. dried cherries
1 1/3 c. nuts (of your choosing)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (contains a small bit of added sugar)
1 1/3 c. pitted dates
2 c. raw cashews
2 tsp. vanilla extract
large pinch of cinnamon
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

The procedure is the same regardless of the ingredients.  Just give it all a whirl, press into the pan, and chill.

I think these will make a terrific kindergarten snack.  They are a great combination of carbs (from the fruit) and protein (from the nuts) to keep Hannah energized and focused at school.

Have you ever tried Lara bars?  What is your favorite flavor?


Jen said...

i was inspired by your status (and the comments by others) to look up lara bars (as i had never heard of them) ... i made peanut butter cookie and pecan pie yesterday. i tried a little of both and think they are yummy ... joey liked them, sophie not so much, but matthew LOVES them :) i'm looking forward to trying your recipes!

Fairion said...

Did they come out with the dry/smooth texture of the storebought ones? We made them once and they came out so wet they did not keep.

Jennifer said...

Yes, they do resemble the store bought version. They are firm/dry enough that Ben was able to walk around with one without it making a huge mess.