Sunday, March 3, 2013

Homemade Larabars

Larabars are awesome.  They're like trail mix blended into one bar.  They are healthy, sweet but without added sugar and fairly filling for their petite size.  But they are expensive.  Not as expensive as some of the bars out there, but expensive enough that I can't justify buying them.  Honestly making them (especially if you use the good, organic stuff) is not much cheaper.  But it is fun :).

The concept is easy: start with a base of nuts or seeds and a sweet, bland fruit like dates or figs.  Blend it until it is a sticky goo.  Then add flavorings, then add fillings.  I made three kinds, two starting from a seed and date base and one starting from a nut and prune base.  In my experimenting I found it works better (especially with my little Magic Bullet rather than a real food processor) to make the nuts/seeds into a nut/seed butter and then add the fruit, and then the flavorings/fillings.

The basic recipe:

1 cup nuts or seeds
1 cup sweet, mild dried fruit (dates, raisins, figs, prunes, etc)
Flavoring as desired (orange zest, vanilla, cocoa powder, etc)
Filling (the dried fruit you want to flavor with, chocolate chips, etc)

1. Blend the nuts or seeds until they start to make butter.
2. Add the dates etc.  Blend until the paste is fairly uniform and sticky.
3. Add flavorings, blend.
4. Add fruit, blend try to mix uniformly and maintain the sticky consistency.

The flavors I made:
I started with a base of 1/2 sunflower seeds and 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1. To half I added a tsp orange zest and half a cup of cranberries
2. To half I added zest and juice of half a lemon (the juice changed the texture, but it was still managable) and a handful of dried blueberries.

I used 1/2 cashews, 1/2 cup prunes and about a Tbsp cocoa powder and added chocolate chips.  Mmm, dessert :).

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