Monday, February 13, 2006

homemade lara type bars


these things seem to be all the rage right now - they're the latest "nutrition" or "sports" bar but with an un-processed, all-natural, all-raw, "healthy" twist. after checking out the ingredients online it seemed to me that they were nothing more than a new take on that old seventies classic, the dreaded date roll.

out of curiosity i picked one up at trader joes the other day for a buck something and gave it a nibble. i was expecting something overly sweet yet bland. i was disappointed. it was good. too good really. if you read the nutrition information, one bar has about 220 calories, which is a lot of calories and more like a light meal than a snack. but they are handy for when you do need something to eat and there's nothing to be had and you're starting to get that headache that signals the imminent onset of extreme, pms-mimicing grouchiness. i'm keeping one in my car. next time i travel i'll pack a few along. if you're a bike rider or long-distance runner or something like that, they could come in handy. these also could be a good all-natural snack for kids. the recipe that follows is my approximation of the base. add whatever suits your fancy. the quantities are for one bar only, so be sure to multiply to get your desired amount.

homemade lara-type bars
makes 1 bar
1 Tablespoon dates, pureed
3 Tablespoons dry ingredients (nuts, dried fruits, coconut, oats, etc.)

pit dates and whir in a food processor or mash by hand until they're one sticky mass. this will be the base, the "glue" that will hold it all together. to this base, add about 3 Tablespoons of finely diced dried ingredients - the nuts of your choice (almonds, cashews, pecans, hazlenut, etc.), dried fruit, oats, spices, etc. with your hands mix it all together and form into a tight ball. roll this ball into a rope and then pat it flat into a rectangle. tightly wrap in plastic wrap (the wrapping will help the bar hold it's shape as you further mold it) and apply pressure to the top using a flat surface - a cutting board works well. to shape the sides you can take two knives and apply pressure to opposite ends of the bars. refrigerate wrapped. for larger batches shape into a larger square, chill and cut into desired bar shapes with a very sharp knife.

some tasty combinations:
cashew: 1 Tablespoon dates + 3 Tablespoons cashews
almond coconut: 1 Tablespoon dates +2 Tablespoons almonds + 1 Tablespoon unsweetened coconut
almond spice: 1 Tablespoon dates + 3 Tablespoons almonds + 1/4 teaspoon each: cinnamon & nutmeg + 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger.
cranberry coconut: 2 Tablespoons minced dried cranberries, 1 Tablespoon unsweetened coconut

49 Comments:

Blogger Isil S. said...

Rae,
I always buy similar snacks from shops, now I'll be making these at home. Thank you!

9:25 AM  
Blogger vegancore said...

I've wanted to try something like this for a while now - thanks for posting this!

3:00 PM  
Blogger rae said...

isil s: and it's fun to make your own combinations. i really like the coconut-macadamia nut.

vegancore: i was surprised at how easy there were to throw together if you have a food processor or mini chopper.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Fanny said...

It looks delicious, i must try this.

2:08 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

I made a big batch of these tonight -- yum! So simple. Thanks for the idea!

8:29 PM  
Blogger Virginie said...

I use to make the same with rice syrup. But with dates it should me more flavoured. Thank you for the idea !

4:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh...I love the cherry pie larabars, but they are so pricey! I can't wait to try your recipe. Thanks!

Jennifer

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

How exciting! I went online last night to see if someone had a recipe like this before trying it myself. you saved me from much experimentation. i made some last night and loved them! thanks!

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Culinary said...

Great recipe!
I got also a great Dutch energy bar on my site visit prietepraat-web-log.nl.
I take one with me when i go running for 3 hours.

6:46 AM  
Blogger A ravenous beast! said...

Thank you! I've wanted to try Lara bars for quite a while, but the price... :( You've saved me a bundle! And they're delicious

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Gwen said...

Lara Bars ROCK! It'll be fun to make them. THANKS!

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

eventhough i had basic idea on how to make a food bar you pretty much confirmed it for me thank you. also for those people that dont have a food processor for the dates. they sell dates already chopped very finely at redners grocery store and or maybe at your local store.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Hi! These bars are great, and I'm making some right now. Any suggestions on hand mashing them? Because they seem extra dry (I got some pre-pitted dole ones).
Thanks!

6:20 PM  
Blogger Meena said...

Groovy!
I went looking for a recipe and found this- thanks! I am going to refer to it in my Sweet and Natural blog.
Meena

7:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really great idea! Just made w/ pitted dates.
So simple and yummy!

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LARABARS ARE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO COOL AND YUMMY AND THEY ROCK MY SOX@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10:47 AM  
Blogger Jen-Jen said...

I think with the Dole dates, you might need to soak them in water for a few hours first, then drain them. You can dry the resulting bars in a warm oven or food deyhydator. Just do a search on "vegan raw food bars"

7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't have a food processor...do you think a blender would work too? would i need to adjust anything?
Thanks,
Dana

11:20 AM  
Blogger Carrie said...

Yeah, I'm commenting on an old post. But I found a link to this blog entry on mothering.com and figured I'd give it a whirl. Thanks for posting it - these larabar knockoffs are awesome, and at a fraction of the cost! :)

6:10 PM  
Anonymous susan said...

I just got back from skiing in Colorado and there was a stand set up giving out larabars. I had never heard of them before and picked up a few of the different flavors. I just had the lemon bar! How delicious and I was so happy to find a recipe to make similar bars. Any ideas on how to make the lemon one?

4:04 PM  
Anonymous serena said...

I have just found and tried this recipe and WOW it is simply divine, thanks! I have never seen Larabars here in Australia (doesn't mean they aren't here somewhere). For my young kids I made a selection of plain and with some others added some good cocoa powder to make chocolate ones. Wrapped them in baking paper with twisted ends. Thank you again, these are just YUM.

11:43 PM  
Anonymous monica said...

awesome - i also use lara bars as "emergency bars" (nice analogy to pms, by the way). but i always feel like i'm getting ripped off when i buy one. now i can make my own!m

1:38 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

In response to how to make the lemon ones (my fav!), I just made some Key Lime ones with (per bar) 1 T dates, 2 T cashew/almond nut mix, 1 T unsweetened coconut, and lime juice to taste. I think you could do a similar thing for the lemon with possibly some lemon zest mixed in there for an extra zing. I will try that when I have fresh lemons.

The Key Lime ones turned out SUPER yummy! Thanks so much for the recipe idea!!

2:42 PM  
Blogger Annabelle Echo said...

It never occurred to me to make Lara bars myself. For one thing dates are very expensive. Here in Chicago they cost about $5 for a small box. I have been thinking about making my own yogurt--only because I don't like throwing away plastic containers. I "recycle them" but I read recently that only 5% of plastic is or can actually be recycled. Milk can still be bought in glass bottles so I was thinking about making yogurt. Have you ever?
Anyway back to Lara bars. I enjoy eating them. My favorite flavors are Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Mole & Pecan Pie. And no I don't work for the company.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Erica said...

Rae,

How long can I store these bars after making them? Thanks for the recipe! I am looking forward to making them. YUM!!

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

merci beaucoup! :) you were the second google entry i hit, and just the one i hoped for to make homemade lara bars. i really like them and how they are raw, but am anguished by the price, so parfait. thanks again and best of food-prep!
sincerely,
Zoe

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is such a good idea. I've been looking for a homemade version of the Larabar for awhile now. It would be really useful to come up with something that has more protein and less Glycemic impact....

8:41 AM  
Blogger jd said...

I was just searching for a Larabar-type recipe, & came across this post, despite the fact that it's a little bit older...

Anyway, I can't wait to try it, especially since I have a gigantic container of dates in my kitchen just waiting to be used!

Thanks so much! I'll let you know how it turns out :)

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the calorie content is high because a major part of the bar contains nuts... nuts tend to be high in calories but are not bad for you.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, so I just got a pecan pie larabar in my stocking (my wife--I mean Santa--knows that I really like them). I found this recipe and gave it a try. One I did 1 tbs each of apricot, walnut, and almond. The second one was trying to be the pecan pie--1 tbs. of almond, 2tbs of pecan. They were both amazing. If you love larabar, try this.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Maggie G. said...

I had my first Lara Bar on Jan. 1, 08 when it was included in my "goody bag" from the Los Gatos, CA Resolution Run 5 mile race. I initially thought: oh another sugar fill "candy bar". But I was wrong. All natural. But of course I needed to know how I could make them myself. I went to the internet and came upon your blog and happy, happy, happy I am. I just made the cashew/date bar they are awesome. I used a great, lightly salted cashew and dates I purchased from Whole Foods. I used my blender which worked fine; I just had to do 1/3 C. or more of the dates in order for it to work. The cashews blended perfectly, 1 C. Then I worked the two ingrediants together into a ball, wrapped the ball up in suran wrap, rolled out the ball, and finally, molded this into a perfect bar that turned out to be about 16" long and about 1/4" thick (all from only 1/3 c. dates and 1 c cashews). Into the refridgerator and folks, as bunnyfoot says, these are great. Thank you so much Bunnyfoot and keep up the good work...and Happy New Year.

9:48 PM  
Anonymous DD said...

WOW these were so easy and delicious! I whizzed dates in the food processor, then broke up the date-lump with a spoon and added in nuts and spices until it looked about right. Then I used my hands to pack it into a giant date-snowball, and formed it as described using saran wrap, a cutting board and my hands to smush it into a big rectangle which I refrigerated and later cut up. I used walnuts, cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg. Yum!

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, has anyone broken their cuisinart chopper and waring blender trying to make these? I'm missing something here...

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

buy a DECENT food processor and it won't break.. blenders are for... blending? Drinks, soups, etc.. a chopper is for... chopping? Nuts, Coffee, Spices..

Spend $40 and get a good processor for.. welll.. processing...

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Diabetic Food said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm always looking for something new to share with my diabetic clients. They'll love this! Thanks!

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Judd said...

another good modification would be to dip these in batter, fry them in oil, rizzle them with vanilla cream cheese frosting, and dip them in melted fudge w/ pecans.

8:45 PM  
Anonymous dbenjaminrn said...

Has anyone figured out the cost of making these compared to buying Larabars? Are there different kinds of dates and if so, which ones are the best to use? These sound wonderful and I'm looking forward to trying different combinations! Thanks!

8:37 PM  
Blogger Ruby Red Vegan said...

did you use fresh dates or dried?

i tried once and failed, but i WILL make this recipe work!

9:50 PM  
Blogger rae said...

hi ruby red,
i use the dried dates - the ones that come from the bulk bin in the grocery store (or a container)-they dried but still kinda sticky.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Blue Yonder said...

Oh! I'm so trying this!

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Crystal said...

Thanks for the recipe! My whole family of 6 loves these types of bars (especially the cherry pie!0 and that can get expensive! i like to have them on hand for a quick, healthy snack but from now on I'm making my own! it'll be fun to see what kinds the kids come up with too!

crysal

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i eat 12
larabars everyday. I use M&M's and corn beef.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous yummybacon said...

yummy.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Scarlett said...

"the wrapping will help the bar hold it's shape as you further mold it"

Recipe is helpful, but you made a mistake writing "it's" above - "it's" with an apostrophe is a contraction for "it is." You want "its" with no apostrophe, which is the possessive of "it."

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this seems very yamy i'll try it for sure especially for my kids it's healthy and easy to make ,thanks alot

8:09 AM  
Blogger Joelle said...

OK..Obviously I need some help with the quality of my products. My dates are much darker than that of Larabars and the pic of the bar shown here, and WHY do my cashews have such a strong taste? Can anyone help me out? = (

8:23 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

Sorry...forget to mention my dates are not very sweet, (and the cashew taste overpowering), but the baby seems to really like them.

8:28 PM  
Blogger PB and Jess said...

I can't wait to try this recipe :) I've been wanting to make my own Lara Bars for a long time, so thanks!

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your recipes are great. Do you have any suggestions on how I can limit the amount of sugar in one of these to a minimum. I would like to use these during my triathlon training, but need to reduce the amount of sugar. These things are delicious though!


Thanks in advance for your time and expertise...

-Triathlete

9:37 PM  

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