DIY Larabars

Ok so I have been on a huge kitchen kick lately, cooking up a storm, and it’s been great!

Personally I am OBSESSED with Larabars. They are a perfect treat/snack for me, they are a) filled with very few ingredients, all of which I can pronounce b) they are so soft and chewy, and I feel like I am having a treat c) these babies are packed with nuts, so I can get in a serving of nuts in (I have struggles making myself eat just plain nuts)

They only con of these majestic bars, falls in their price. They are like $1.40 in my local store. And while I am pretty liberal with my grocery budget at times- I can’t afford to have 2 Larabars a day.

This inspired me to start perusing Pinterest and the interwebs to make these babies myself, and hopefully save a little money.

Based on the reading I did and when I started messing around in the kitchen this is kind of the base recipe I came up with:

-1 cup of nuts (any type of your choosing)
-8 pitted dates

From there I did a little “mad scientry” I made two batches I did a chocolate coconut and a cherry.

For the Choco-coconut:
– 1/2 cup almonds (unsalted)
– 1/2 cup cashews (unsalted)
-8 medjool dates (pitted)
-1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
-1 tbsp coconut oil (solid)
-1/2 cup coconut flakes (unsweetened)

For the Cherry:

-1/2 cup almonds
-1/2 cup cashews
-8 medjool dates (pitted)
-1/2 – 1 cup (whatever you prefer) of dried unsweetened cherries
-1 Tbsp lemon juice

The Method

The method is the same for both bars, and any bar of your choosing .

1) In a food processor add your nuts, and grind them so that they are in small pieces but NOT a powder

2) Add your dates, let them blend for about a minute or so- at this point a date/nut ball should start to form

IMG_2937[1]

3) Add your additional ingredients and let your “dough” form into a ball into your food processor

At this point you can do 1 of 2 things.  Roll the mixture out so it is about a 1/2 inch thick, and cut out “bars”.  Or you can take the lazy option (this is what I did), and make about 8-10 little balls (you can just grab little pieces, and roll them into balls)

I originally did this to save money, I spent about $18 on ingredients and got about 8 bars/balls from each batch, so 16 bars, so about $1.13 per bar- which is definitely better than the $1.40 per bar.

However in doing this I was able to do a couple of things: 1) establish my base recipe (1/2 cup almonds + 1/2 cup cashews + 8 dates)  so I can add to that what I want

2) Now I know how to make this recipes, and feel comfortable making small adjustments

3) Now that I know what ingredients what I can look for cashews, almonds and other nuts on sale, and possibly borrow a friend’s Costco card to buy in bulk when possible.

4) I was able to figure out the calories/macros of what I made, and I must say I’m pretty pleased.  The nutrition facts are below.

IMG_2955[1]

Really with the base recipe you can swap out different nuts (pecans, walnuts etc), and then you can also modify the different dried fruits to your tasting.  Just remember any modifications you make will alter the macros I have listed below.

Choco-coconut bars; Yield = 8; Serving size 1 bar 

162 calories

8.5 g of Fat

3 1/2 g Saturated Fat

1 g Polyunsaturated Fat

3 g Monounsaturated Fat

1 mg Sodium

217 mg Potassium

21 g Carbohydrate

2 1/2 g Fiber

Cherry Lemon Bar (serving size = 1) Yield = 8

175 Calories

5 g Fat

0 g Saturated Fat

1 g Polyunsaturated Fat

3 g Monounsaturated Fat

4 mg Sodium

31 g of Carbohydrate

2 g fiber

IMG_2953[1]

These bars are great sources of the healthy fats from the nuts, and also a great source of iron.  And by following the specs I laid out – they should make for an extremely healthy snack (no salt on the nuts, and unsweetened dried fruit).  Especially for runners, I personally think larabars are great for long runs, because they are soft and easy to eat, this also leads my to believe that they would be good for tri-athletes too, or anyone who is engaging in strenuous activity for long periods of time.

They are also great for someone like me who really really wants to like nuts but I can’t quite make myself eat them.  But I have no problem with them in things.

Well folks!  I hope you enjoy this recipe, definitely give it a shot!  I was insanely pleased with how similar my Cherry Bars tasted to the real thing.

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