Simple Homemade Laräbars

Posted on Mar 25, 2013 in Blog, Recipes | 27 comments

Simple Homemade Laräbars

After attempting my first batch of homemade Laräbars, my first thought was, “Why didn’t I think of this sooner?” They are sweet, chewy, and packed full of natural energy. I first got the idea after a few date bar recipes showed up on my Pinterest account. After this initial inspiration, I decided to browse the internet for recipes that were similar in taste, consistency, and quality to the much-loved and coveted (among health foodies) Laräbar.

If you’ve never had a Laräbar before, the concept is quite simple and extraordinarily delicious: Combine dates with a variety of dried fruits, nuts, and seeds, then add in chocolate, shredded coconut, or other flavorings to taste. All the ingredients are ground up in a food processor and are then formed into bars with a bit of handy work and parchment paper. The original Laräbar company has created flavors like Apple Pie, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Chip Brownie, Key Lime Pie, and Peanut Butter Cookie. Sounds good, right?

Simple Homemade Larabars - CreativeSimpleLife.com

In my research for the perfect date bar recipe, I came across an ingenious post by Rawified that breaks down the recipe into a simple formula that can be easily adapted to create different flavor combinations. Coconut cream pie, lemon bar, chocolate chip cookie, anybody? Here’s the ratio to aim for to get perfect homemade date bars, whatever flavor you choose to make (adapted from Rawfied.com):

  • 1 cup dried fruit base: Dates, raisins, and prunes work great here because they are sweet and sticky so they hold together the mixture. Prunes have relatively less sugar per weight than dates and raisins so they’re a good option if you’re looking to keep the sugar content lower (although any way you cut it, these bars are naturally sweeeeet).
  • 1 cup nut/seed mixture: My favorites are cashews for their neutral flavor, healthy fats, and creamy consistency. Other great options are almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds also make great additions.  Smaller seeds like chia, hemp, or flax seeds can be added in smaller amounts (experiment with 1-3 tablespoons per batch).
  • Up to 1 cup of additional filling (optional): This is where dried fruits can be added for flavoring. Great options include dried apples, cherries, blueberries, apricots, cranberries, goji berries, and mangos. If using a full cup of additional dried fruit, try either cutting down the amount of dried fruit base to 1/2 cup or add an additional 1/2 cup of the nut/seed mixture.
  • Additional flavoring: Add one or more the following ingredients based on your chosen recipe (recommended amount in parentheses): Cocoa powder (2-4 Tbsp), vanilla (1-2 tsp), cinnamon (1-2 tsp), citrus zests (1tsp), mint extract (1/2-1 tsp), and coconut oil (1-2 Tbsp) can be added in moderate amounts to flavor your bars. For some great sample recipes, check out the Rawified’s article on Raw Larabars.
Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Lärabars from NaturallyElla.com

Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Lärabars from NaturallyElla.com

For my first imitation Laräbar attempt, I decided to use dates as my dried base fruit and cashews as my nut mix. To this, I added cocoa powder, coconut, coconut oil, and a pinch of salt to make sweet and chewy Chocolate Coconut Date Bars (full recipe below). For more flavor ideas, peruse the ingredient list on the Laräbar Product page for the bar you’d like to replicate. The below recipe can be adapted to make a variety of date bar flavors. Experiment with your favorite fruit and nut combinations!

Simple Homemade Larabars

Homemade Laräbars
Author: 
Cuisine: Gluten-Free
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 oz chopped unsweetened chocolate (optional)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Place your dried fruit base into the food processor and run for 20 seconds.
  2. Add nut/seed mixture and run for another 20 seconds. You'll have a sticky mixture.
  3. Add in any additional filling and flavorings that you are using and pulse until combined. Avoid over-mixing at this point to maintain texture.
  4. Spread the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper and flatten using a rolling pin, bottle, or heavy pan.
  5. Refrigerate until chilled and then cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator, separated by parchment paper.
  6. May be frozen for longer storage.

Simple Homemade Larabars - CreativeSimpleLife.com

Get started:

This article has been shared at: Thank Your Body

27 Comments

  1. Those look fantastic Alexandra – you are totally right I’m thinking why didn’t I try this sooner – kinda like making your own crackers. :) I have a bag of dried coconut I got with the intention of doing some kitchen experiments too – no dates though :( I’ll have to see what I have on hand…. thanks for the inspiration.

  2. What about adding toast oats or puffed grains? Would it take away from the texture? I’m thinking it would just as filling and be less calorie dense. Either way I’ll give these a try for sure. Thanks for the post.

    • I say, “Why not?” A few thoughts: I’d add these ingredients at the end to avoid pulverizing them in the food processor. Also, puffed grains will probably not maintain their crispness, so just be aware of that. Let me know how it goes!

  3. Could I use dried cranberries instead of the dates, raisins, or prunes, as I’m not a big fan of any of their flavors, but I LOVE craisins?

    • Yes, you could probably try this with cranberries! Keep in mind, however, than lots of dried cranberries have sugar and preservatives added to them. I’d recommend looking for “unsulphured” cranberries with no extra sugar added.

      • Also when looking at cranberries try to find ones that have not been processed in oil. Read your ingredient list.

  4. Would the date pieces that are coated with some kind of powder or flour work?

    • Those should work. Since they are usually coated with oat flour, I’d add a tablespoon or two of water to the recipe to hydrate them a bit.

  5. These look fantastic! I’m on the hunt for marathon-training-food (I HATE fake gels, urgh) and these might just do the trick. Pootling off to the kitchen to try ’em…

  6. Whoo hooo! These look easy to make and delicious. I’m thinking I could store them in the freezer, and then take a couple out for my son’s lunch. The thing is, he usually forgets his insulated lunch box at a friend’s, so I’m just going to send his lunch in a bag. I figure the bars will still be good and are only kept in the frig or freezer for shape? Looking at the ingredients, they don’t look perishable. (Thinking out loud here – lol).

  7. I think I will use my cookie cutters in these so kids will eat them. Do you package them in sandwich bags or decorative cellophane bags?

    • I lay them between parchment paper and keep ’em in the fridge in a glass container. Love your cookie cutter idea!

  8. These look great! I’m curious how many bars your recipe made? Thanks!

    • I guess it depends on how small you cut them….perhaps between 8 and 12.

  9. You don’t have to soak the dates first before food processing? How would that change the recipe (perhaps creamier)?

    • I don’t soak ’em. There seems to be plenty of moisture in them to hold everything together, especially if you add a bit of oil to the recipe.

  10. I know that this is coming a bit late but YUM! Never had a larabar before but I made date+cashew+ dark choco chips and raisin+ dark choco chips+ almonds. so simple and so delicious. Thank you for the post!

  11. I made these 3 times now exactly as you say and they are so dry I cannot do anything with them. suggestions??

    • Try adding some water a teaspoon at a time until they reach the right consistency. Depending on where you are getting your ingredients, they may be drier that what I’m working with (dates specifically). You can also add some coconut oil to improve the moisture. Good luck!

  12. These are delicious! I added the dates, cashews, coconut, coconut oil, cocoa powder, chocolate, and some rolled oats. I had problems with them being dry but I added some water and they turned out perfect! I also don’t have a food processor so I grated some of the nuts in the blender and chopped the rest by hand. Mixed everything together by hand and rolled it out by hand. I made my thinner and smaller (small snack) and made about 15 bars.

  13. Calorie count?

    • No idea, sorry. I tend not to worry about calories as long as I’m eating whole foods.

  14. You can also try adding a pinch of instant coffee to the mix, it adds a richer flavor and almost tastes chocalatey.

  15. How long will these keep in the fridge for?
    Thanks,
    V

  16. I just made a variation of these in my food processor and they turned out fantastic! Just like Lara Bars!
    The ingredients I had on hand were raisins, pecans, almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, and cranberries. I can’t wait to try using dates, cashews, dried apples, and other ingredients that will make them exactly like Lara bars. Thanks for posting this recipe!

  17. My Grandmother use to make something similar,way back in the 50’s. Her recipe didn’t have nuts,she used a hand crank grinder and added a cup of Irish Whiskey to the mix…for “MEDICINAL” PURPOSES. She smashed into a baking pan ,refrigerate for several hrs, then cut them in to 1 inch squares cover them with wax-paper to keep them from”drying out”

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