Thursday, August 5, 2010

Homemade Lara Bars

LARA BARS are one of the very best energy bars on the market, simply because they are made from a short list of real food ingredients: nuts, fruits and spices. They are YUM-O... and are raw, unprocessed, non-GMO, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, vegan, and kosher.  Here's a look at the Lara bar ingredients and the ingredients for another apple-ish flavored bar on the market (made by Powerbar):

LARABAR: Apple Pie Flavor (from
Dates, Walnuts, Unsweetened Apples, Almonds, Raisins, Cinnamon

POWERBAR: Apple Cinnamon Flavor (from
High Fructose Corn Syrup With Grape And Pear Juice Concentrate, Oat Bran, Maltodextrin, Milk Protein Isolate, Rice Crisps (Milled Rice, Rice Bran), Brown Rice Flour, Almond Butter, Apple Powder, Natural Flavor, Glycerin, Soy Protein Isolate, Cinnamon and Peanut Flour. (Contains Almond, Milk, Peanut and Soy Ingredients.)

The only downside to LARA bars is that once you try them, you love them, and you’ve got to have them! And at about $1.60 to $2.00 per bar, it gets pricey.  After searching the internet, I found several recipes.  Yesterday I tried making Peanut Butter & Jelly bars and Chocolate Coconut bars, but many variations could be made.  Play around with the flavors and make them the way you like them.  Taste the "dough", and if you prefer, add more spices!  Keep them stored in your fridge, and pop one in your purse when you leave to run errands.  It can be a healthy alternative to stopping for a fast food snack.  They are surprisingly quite filling.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
1/4 cup chopped dates (pitted & roughly chopped whole dates, not pre-chopped)
1/4 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
1/3 cup peanuts (these are roasted, so this bar is not completely raw, but still very healthy)

Set out two pieces of plastic wrap for wrapping the bars.  Place the chopped dates in a food processor. Process until they JUST start to form into a ball.  Empty into mixing bowl.  Place cranberries into food processor (no need to clean bowl inbetween ingredients).  Process into very small pieces. Transfer to bowl with dates.  Place peanuts into food processor.  Process until chopped very fine.  (Be careful not to make peanut butter!)  Add to bowl with dates and cranberries.  Using your hand, mix the ingredients together well.  Divide into two pieces and on a clean surface carefully shape into two bars approximately 3.5 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 3/4 inch thick.  Tightly wrap the plastic around each bar and store in the refrigerator. Makes 2 bars.  Recipe can be doubled, or more if you like!

For the Chocolate Coconut Bars (Whitney's favorite!) the ingredients are as follows, using similar preparation instructions as above:

1/2 cup chopped dates (pitted & roughly chopped whole dates, not pre-chopped)
1/3 cup total of almonds & walnuts, mixed
1 1/2 t. unsweetened dried coconut
1/4 plus 1/8 t. cocoa powder
 (Makes 2 bars)

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