Thursday, May 23, 2013

Kitchen Files: Homemade Lara Bars

So, I totally fell off the face of the Earth for a few months. Whoops. I guess I can use pregnancy brain as my excuse..? (Oh yeah, I'm pregnant by the way.)

I have been doing crafts over the past few months and will try to get them posted in a timely manner.  No promises. 

Anyway, every few weeks I spend a few hours in the kitchen making things that I can freeze and take to work for breakfasts and snacks. I typically make some oatmeal muffins, trail mix and homemade Lara bars and then also cut up all of my fruit for the week.

As of a few months ago, I would buy a box of Lara bars every week, but those are expensive! We're talking about $6 for a box of 5. Plus, they are a higher calorie bar (about 210-220 calories), which is a little more than I like to eat for a snack. So thanks to Pinterest and a few friends, I learned that I could just make my own. Not only would it save money, but I could make them into a more manageable snack size.

I bought a tub of dates, the main ingredient in Lara bars, at Costco for about $8 back in early April and 3 double batches of bars later, I still have some left, so that tells you how much more affordable these are compared to buying a box at the store every week.

The flavors I've made so far include lemon, peanut butter cookie, peanut butter chocolate chip and most recently coconut chocolate chip. Clif Bar came out with a coconut chocolate chip  bar recently that I love, so I decided to try it out in Lara bar form. Oh my, I've really hit the jackpot with this one!

I also made Coconut Lemon, which is pretty good. 

The main ingredients of my bars never change: 1 cup of dates (blended into a paste) and 1/3 cup raw almonds (finely chopped). The rest of the ingredients depend on what flavor I want or what I have in my cupboard at the time (let's be honest, we always have peanut butter and chocolate chips). You can definitely experiment with different nuts as well. A friend of mine uses cashews in hers and has tried hazelnuts as well.

For the coconut chocolate chip, I added 1/3 cup toasted coconut (toasted by my husband) and about 1/8 cup chopped chocolate chips. 

Once I have everything mushed together, I spread it out on a little tin foil covered tray. I try to make them all one thickness, but sometimes they aren't. I don't really care too much. Then I pop them in the fridge for a few hours to harden up a bit. 

After a few hours, I take them out and cut into 6 bars. I'd say each bar is about 3" by 3" give or take and about 1/4" thick. Of course, if you want thicker bars, just don't spread them out as thick on the tray. If you want more bars, you can easily double or triple the recipe! 

Here is the original recipe I use! The Lara bar site also has the ingredients for all of their flavors, so check them out if you'd like some ideas.

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