I recently ‘got into’ Lara Bars. I like to have a late afternoon snack on the days I work late, that has enough staying power to keep me full ’till my (late) dinner and align with my dietary goals. I’ve been really digging the ‘peanut butter cookie’ and ‘cashew cookie’ lara bars, in particular. Though that may sound like a delicious cookie treat, in reality these bars have little in common with the cookies they are named after. Check out the ingredients: PB cookie- peanuts, dates; cashew cookie bars- cashews, dates, pinch of sea salt. Hmm. Pretty simple ingredient list for a $1.50 bar… naturally my mind got to thinking– couldn’t I just make these at home?
Why yes, yes you can.
Essentially the options are really quite endless here with these bars. I made 2 varieties: PB cookie and a tropical fruit bar. In it’s most basic form it’s one cup of dried fruit to one cup of nuts. You can use whatever dried fruit nut combo you want and then add in spices, such as cinnamon, extracts, such as vanilla or mint, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, etc etc. I pre-soaked my dates in warm water so they would break down more easily.
Peanut Butter Cookie Lara Bar:
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup peanuts
Run dates through food processor first for about 15-20 seconds, then add peanuts until blended. Pour onto parchment or plastic wrap and shape into a loaf.
Tropical Lara Bars:
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup dried pineapple
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup peanuts
Run fruit through food processor first, then add nuts until blended. Pour onto parchment paper or plastic wrap to create bars. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut into squares.
~The only caveat here is having a decent food processor. I have a cuisinart and it definitely struggled with this. I feel like when the blade spins it just pushes the materials up and doesn’t really ‘process’ them. I had to open it up and push the contents down multiple times. I added a little water at times to get things moving but that altered the texture a bit and not in a good way. It made it too sticky/puree like. The good news is you can add more ‘dry’ ingredients (nuts, oats, chia seeds) as needed to the fruit if it’s too sticky and not holding form.
I’d love to hear about other combos people are trying with these!