Trying one, I was like a kid in a candy store. Just sweet enough to take the dull ache of missing sugar away, and flavors reminicent of bread-type foods I can no longer enjoy, I couldn’t resist trying “just one more”. But at $1.60 – $1.75 each for a 1.8 ounce bar (over $14 per pound, far more than I pay for steak!), I couldn’t justify eating them very often.
And to make it even worse, they have a huge variety! The Paleo-approved flavors included Apple Pie, Banana Bread, Blueberry Muffin, Cappuccino, Carrot Cake, Cashew Cookie, Cherry Pie, Chocolate Chip Brownie, Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Coconut Chew, Coconut Cream Pie, Ginger Snap, Key Lime Pie, Lemon Bar, Orange Float, Pecan Pie, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and Tropical Fruit Tart. (Yes, chocolate is Paleo-questionable, I know).
Non-Paleo option contained peanuts, which is a a legume not a nut, but include Peanut Butter & Jelly, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and Peanut Butter Cookie.
However, reading the label showed me an interesting bit of information. The typical ingredients list included dates (as a base), a dried fruit or two, a nut or two, and some spices, nothing more. No binders, no chemicals, no preservatives….
….and no reason I couldn’t make some myself!
A quick search showed many folks have already proven this very thought. I quickly picked my favorite bar, the Banana Bread, and gave it a try. Most of the simple recipes are equal parts of each base ingredient, so I went with a cup of dates, a cup of blanched almonds, and a cup of unsweetened banana chips. I tossed it into the food processor and spun it until it was chopped fairly fine and was a meal that started to stick together, much like bread dough does. I pressed it out with my hands between two sheets of wax paper (the dates make it sticky!), I formed it into a large bar that I chilled then sliced. total cost was about $3 for six bars. I can live with that! And it tasted…..like banana bread! I wanted to heat it up and smear some cream cheese on it!
A second batch of Banana Bread, I added some cinnamon, and it was even better! I also made Coconut Cream Pie, and it, too was wonderful! 1 cup each of almonds, dates, and unsweetened shredded coconut, along with a splash of coconut oil. Awesome!
According to Maggie over at rawified.blogspot.ca, the basic recipe (Paleo-modified by me) consists of:
- 1 cup nuts
- Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc.
- 1 cup sweet dried fruit
- Dates, raisins, figs, prunes, etc.
- 1 cup filling (optional)
- Dried cherries, dried blueberries, dried apricot, dried pineapple, cranberries, goji berries, more chopped nuts, dried coconut, cacao nibs, shredded carrot, etc.
- 2 – 4 tbsp flavoring (optional)
- Cacao, vanilla, cinnamon, citrus zest and juice, ginger, mint, cloves, coconut oil.
In your food processor, mix together fruit and nuts until a sticky, workable dough is formed. Add flavoring, and process well. Add fillings, and pulse until combined – being careful not to wreck the texture. Shape into six equal sized bars, and wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap. If you’re in a hurry, you can shape the dough into eight to twelve balls, instead. Lärabars should keep in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight container for up to a month.
I’ve added a few more steps, though. I spoon the chopped “dough” into Ziploc sandwich bags, press the dough flat into a large block, then chill it in the refrigerator. After it has chilled several hours, I slice it, in the bag still, and place into vacuum-seal bags and seal them. Toss into the freezer (should last years if vac-sealed and frozen), and they sit there, for at least a day.
Then I eat them all.
At least I did for the first few batches. Eventually, I was able to get a few I didn’t eat
immediately, and carried them, still vac-sealed, in my EDC pack for several days before eating them. Heat does make them a little gooey, but the flavor is still great.