Better than Lara Bars!

[note: these bars don't last long enough to be photographed]

Have you ever wondered how to make your own Lara Bar? Here's my recipe!

Since becoming serious about cooking traditionally, I have had to give up an awesome convenience food / "on the go snack": the "bar". My favorite for a while was the Odwalla Bar; $.88 at Winco, I could load up on these babies and my kiddo loved them for her snack. Ironically, it was the Odwalla Bar that lead me to believe that my daughter was sensitive to wheat/gluten. I'll spare you the delicious details, but suffice to say that it was the Odwalla Bar, in a way, that lead me on this journey!

Fast forward two years into the future. Lara bars come on the scene. What could be better? A whole food, gluten free snack bar! These have like 3 ingredients! But they are also expensive. And rightly so; I mean, the ingredients are good quality and good quality comes with a price.

I don't know if the recipe below really comes out that much cheaper than a box of Lara Bars at Costco (~$18 for 18 bars). This recipe made about 18 bars and I'm pretty sure the ingredients, altogether would total a lot less than $18. It also takes very little time. Here's the basic idea of the recipe. It's not an exact science, so forgive the "Italian" style of recipe writing:

Better than Lara Bars

10-12 pitted dates
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (more may be necessary)
handful of raisins
1 cup of shredded coconut (plus more for coating)
1 TBS Raw Honey (or other liquid sweetener)]
Liquid Stevia to taste
handful of chopped crispy nuts (macadamia nuts or almonds are great)
1/3 cup of coconut oil or butter
2 scoops of Rainbow Light's Chocolate Rice Protein Powder (optional, but really good!)

1) Place dates into food processor and process until you have a paste.

2) Add raisins, peanut butter, honey, and coconut and process until mixture forms a big mass.

3) Add your coconut oil now, as well as the protein powder, if using. Mixture may seem a bit "wet" from the coconut oil. This is okay,but if it seems too runny, add more shredded coconut. Taste for sweetness, and add a few drops of stevia (or more honey) to acheive desired sweetness.

4) At this point, add the chopped nuts.

5) Form pastey mass into balls or bars and roll in shredded coconut (or rapadura or cocoa).

6) Place bars on parchment-lined baking sheet and chill in freezer for about 10 minutes.

Notes: This is a pretty forgiving and versatile recipe. Try subbing raisins for any dried fruit (apricots or cherries would be great!) The coconut oil is not absolutely essential to the texture, either. You can get by without it, but it adds some good nutritional properties! You also don't need nuts, the peanut butter is enough!

These are amazing! They are full of healthy fats, complex carbs, and protein! Enjoy for breakfast on the run or for dessert with a glass of milk!


Christy Sumerfield said...

Sounds delicious Anna...you are the master!!!

Kimi Harris said...

Yum, looks good! I have also been experimenting with bar recipes. Elena at elenaspantry.com has a delish one as well. It's similar to yours. :-)

Michele said...

This sounds so good! :) We really like Lara Bars, but I haven't wanted to buy them with all that packaging.
Thanks, Carrie! :)

Anonymous said...

Yum! Been looking for a good protein bar recipe. I like your new blog layout by the way!