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?
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.
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!
- 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
- Place your dried fruit base into the food processor and run for 20 seconds.
- Add nut/seed mixture and run for another 20 seconds. You'll have a sticky mixture.
- Add in any additional filling and flavorings that you are using and pulse until combined. Avoid over-mixing at this point to maintain texture.
- Spread the mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper and flatten using a rolling pin, bottle, or heavy pan.
- Refrigerate until chilled and then cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator, separated by parchment paper.
- May be frozen for longer storage.
This article has been shared at: Thank Your Body