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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Easy Homemade Larabars

Homemade Larabars

I am a snacker.  I love to snack.  Because of that, I try really hard (try being the key word here) to eat "healthier" snacks when I snack.  
It all started when my kids were little.  You see they could never last from breakfast to lunch and then from lunch to dinner so we would have snacks.  And of course I couldn't let them snack by themselves so for 12 years now, I am in the habit of snacking.  And I love it.
Especially in the afternoons with a cold diet coke.  Heaven!!  
So in my effort to eat "healthier" snacks I decided to make my own Larabars.  Have you ever heard of them?  They are a protein bar that is gluten free.  Yeah.  They are made with a  base of dates (don't freak out--you can't even taste them) and can be made into many different varieties.  I made two kinds--chocolate of course, because that goes best with the Diet Coke. 
And they turned out absolutely fantastic.  I love them.  Even two of my kids love them.  They are a great filling snack and it's something I can eat.  Awesome.
 

Homemade Larabars

Homemade Larabars

Easy Homemade Larabars Recipes :

Chocolate Peanut Butter Version:
2 cups whole, pitted dates (moist ones work best)
1 cup raw or toasted whole shelled almonds
1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
1 tbsp natural peanut butter, divided (or more, if necessary)

Coconut Version:
2 cups whole, pitted dates (moist ones work best)
1 cup raw or toasted whole shelled almonds
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tbsp nutella
1/2 cup coconut
1 tsp coconut oil

1.  Line two 8-inch x 8-inch straight sided pans with  parchment paper so that the paper hangs over the edges. Set aside.

2.  Fit a food processor with a metal blade. Add the almonds to the processor and pulse until they are uniformly finely chopped (think fresh bread crumb texture.) Add the chocolate chips and pulse again until the chocolate chips are also finely chopped.

3.  Pour the chocolately nuts into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Add the dates to the food processor and process until a paste forms and clumps together in the bowl. Open the food processor and add in 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter and the chocolatey ground nuts. Replace the lid and process until evenly combined. Scrape into the prepared pan.

4.  For coconut version, add almonds  to the processor and pulse until they are uniformly finely chopped.  Add the chocolate chips and pulse again until the chocolate chips are also finely chopped. Pour the chocolately nuts into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Add the dates to the food processor and process until a paste forms and clumps together in the bowl. Open the food processor and add in 1 tablespoon of the nutella, coconut, and coconut oil, and the chocolatey ground nuts. Replace the lid and process until evenly combined. Scrape into the prepared pan.

5.  When all of the ingredients have been thus processed, wet your hands and use them to press the mixture as evenly over the bottom of the pan as possible. Fold the excess parchment over the bars to cover them and use something flat and heavy to press down firmly on the mixture until it is smooth.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before moving onto the slicing.

6. To slice, use the excess parchment paper like a sling to transfer the now-firm bars from the pan to a large cutting board.  Cut into desired size and store in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container. An unrefrigerated bar will be good for 48 hours, covered, at room temperature.  Enjoy!

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