Saturday, January 10, 2009

Homemade Larabars- Easier Than You Think

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! :)


20 comments:

Jamie said...

Those look great! Nice work!

The Puritan Impulse said...

Yum, I'm going to make these, problem is I don't have a food processor, hope my blender will work ok. I love the lemon flavour for the Larabar, the pecan ones are sort of a lie because they are not very "pie-y". :)

Tia said...

Jamie- Thanks!

The Puritan Impulse- I think your blender should work. Just pulse it and do really small batches (unless you have something like a VitaMix). I've tried to figure out how to do the lemon flavor, but it's been a struggle to keep them from being too sour or too wet. If you try it out, let me know!

Samantha said...

THANK YOU for posting this! We just moved outside the US to Guam and I can't find larabars anywhere! I knew with the short ing. list they should be easy to replicate but hadn't tried yet. Glad I ran up on this! Hope you'll post more if you figure out other flavors!

Pam said...

These looks delicious! I've never heard of a Larabar, but I'm certainly going to give these a try...I have everything in my pantry!

Alejandra said...

These look so good! I've never tried larabars, but i've been into energy bars lately. I just made my first granola bars the other day and my boyfriend has been raving about them and telling me that i should sell them. I think these might drive him through the roof!

pinkstripes said...

Wow! I love them. I love Lara Bars and the like (ones with real ingredients). It totally makes sense that you could make them yourself. I'm going to try this too. Thanks for sharing.

Sara said...

Hi, these look awesome! For lemon, you might try either lemon extract (you can use less of it since it's stronger, so maybe less of a problem with wetness?) or maybe lemon zest?

Pam said...

OMG! These are delicious! Mine were pretty thin, but yummy! I'm definitely making more of these in the future. I think next time I'll add some raisins or prunes along with the dates for a little flavor variation.

Kevin said...

Those bars sound good!

Sarah said...

I, too, am addicted to Lara bars, and was just online looking for a cheap, bulk source to feed my habit, when LO! I came across your site. You've saved me countless millions. Pecan pie is even my favorite flavor! I'll check back later to see whether anyone has worked out other recipes. MANY thanks!

going kiwi said...

Love it! I tried to make them before but I put everything in the Vita Mix and they came out more like a nut butter, good but different texture. Thanks for sharing your recipe, I will now try it your way.

Anonymous said...

OMG !!! i just had a LARABAR !!!! Peanut butter cookie !!!
mmmm...... loved it !!!

Kia said...

Question: do you have to store these in the refrigerator (after cutting) until ready to eat? I am so excited about this recipe!

Tia said...

Kia- you don't *have* to store them in the fridge, but I did just to keep them fresher longer, plus it helps to hold the shape/texture. :)

Mickey said...

Kia, your blog post inspired us to create bars of our own! Most of them turned out delicious and were very easy to make. Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Boyajian pure citrus oils are perfect for adding a punch of lemon, lime, or orange flavor without watering down your ingredients. They are expensive but just a few drops is enough. Look for the little bottles on sale at TJmaxx or Marshalls!

Anonymous said...

As for adding extracts and oils.....when people see them on ingredient lists as "natural flavor" or "extract" they run the other way, but now people are saying "oh just add your own, its fine!"

Sometimes I wonder why people don't think over what they say...and what they eat. Just because you can't pronounce it doesn't mean it's bad.

Anonymous said...

Wow.. I am going to make these this weekend. I love Larabar's and just bought 12 yesterday.. Thanks very much :) Great blog. Gonna keep you in my favourites

Bunny said...

Awesome recipe. I will have to try this as I also have been addicted to them after getting one at the grocery store.