Saturday, January 10, 2009
So I'm super excited that so many people voted in my impromptu poll, asking which flavor of Larabar I should attempt to make. The first time I checked it, all three flavors were in a dead heat! I panicked for a bit and then more people voted... And the people have spoken!
Pecan Pie is what you asked for, and Pecan Pie is what you're gonna get!
I got ridiculously addicted to Larabars a couple of months ago. I was out grocery shopping and got hit by the hunger bug. If there's one thing I've learned, it's do NOT shop on an empty stomach, or you'll be explaining to your hubby why 2 opened boxes of cookies, a half-eaten bag of Sour Cream & Onion potato chips, and a case of soda missing one can came home with you. And trust me. He won't believe you if you say they just followed your car.
But I digress... I decided to buy a Larabar at the checkout of my favorite organic store before heading to Costco. That little bar changed my life. Seriously. I got the Pecan Pie flavor and, after one bite, had to check the ingredient list. Imagine my amazement at the shockingly short list of ingredients that had no sugar, no preservatives, no extra bells and whistles. Dates, Pecans, Almonds. That's it!! I've since tried almost every flavor they make, including the Jocolat bars. If you haven't tried these yet, and you're not keen on spending almost $2 for a small bar, try this recipe first. I'd even encourage you to do a "side-by-side" taste test of sorts! :)
Homemade Larabars: Pecan Pie Flavor
1 1/2- 2 c. pitted dates (**See note at bottom about this!**)
1/4 c. pecan halves
1/4 c. whole almonds
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (Entirely optional- This was my own little variation)
1. In your food processor, roughly chop the dates. It won't become a paste, but it will look a little chunky (the closest texture I can think of is after you cut butter into really small pieces in the flour when you make pie crust).
2. Remove the dates from the food processor and put them into a bowl. Add the nuts and cinnamon into the food processor and pulse until ground up.
3. Pour nuts into bowl with dates. Wash your hands, remove all of your rings, and get your mitts into it. Smush all of the nuts into the dates, until distributed fairly evenly throughout.
4. Line a bread baking pan with plastic wrap and mush the date & nuts mixture into an even layer. Wrap the plastic wrap around the mix and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. This will make it easier to cut.
If you use a typical rectangular baking pan, you should be able to cut it into roughly 6-2" bars.
**Side note: I had to approximate the amount of dates used, because I used a mix of regular pitted dates from the bulk bin at the grocery store, and a pitted date "block" that I bought at the local Persian store. If you have a Meditarranean store near you, don't hesitate to visit and ask about dates! :)