Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Homemade larabar-type energy bars.


I've been busy in the kitchen again. Lucky you. This means I have a delicious treat to share today: Chocolate almond energy bars.

These homemade Larabar-type bars are my new favorite. For a while, I was stuck on my two-ingredient cashew cookie bars (cashews and dates, yum!). Now, I'm getting on stuck on these five-ingredient bars.

They are so good. Seriously.

Even the kids love them. Well, mostly the toddler. He's slightly addicted and, really, I don't mind. These bars are relatively healthy -- especially when compared to some of the other junk they could be eating, including those so-called healthy granola bars that are nothing of the sort.

So, my bars. I've found homemade Larabar recipes on a few different sites and through a bit of experimentation, I've modified those recipes to my own liking.

The base for the bars is always the same: Dates. Sweet, delicious dates. I buy whole, unsulphured medjool or deglet dates at the local food co-op. For these bars, I used deglet dates:

Mmm . . . dates!
My advice is to start with the whole dates, not chopped dates. Chopped just aren't the same quality. Go for whole. Trust me.

OK. So, here's my recipe for these tasty bars!


Chocolate-Almond Energy Bars

2/3 cup whole medjool or deglet dates, chopped

1 cup almonds (NOT salted)
handful dark chocolate chips
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Place dates in a food processor and process until they form a sticky ball (about 2 minutes). Put the dates in a bowl. Add almonds and cinnamon to the food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds. Add chocolate chips to the nuts and pulse for about 20-30 seconds. Some of the almonds should be finely processed, with some larger chunks remaining.

Add the mixture to the dates. Add vanilla. Combine all five ingredients with your hands -- you really need to work the mixture for a while to combine it all.

Shape into bars, like this:


The dates will become like a paste, but there should still be small nut pieces in your mixture.

I wrap mine in regular plastic wrap and store them in the pantry:

Wrapped and ready to go!
This recipe makes about 5 bars, or fewer if you end up giving pieces to your kids while you're shaping the bars. You can fiddle around with the recipe, trying different nuts or adding in other spices or additional dried fruits to change the flavor. This one, though, is my current favorite.

The bars are a good mix of carbs and protein, making them a nice post-run treat. I ate one after my 22-mile run on Sunday and it tasted great!

Do you have any homemade bar recipes you'd like to share? 
Leave a link - I'd love to check it out!

~ Felice

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This isn't an energy bar type of recipe, but a great replacement for the store-bought granola bars:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/playgroup-granola-bars/detail.aspx

The recipe works with all sorts of substitutions, too. Enjoy!

Dawn

The Happy Runner said...

Thanks, Dawn!

J said...

Yum! I have never made homemade bars before but it looks easy enough that I really should try it.

Pauline said...

I made these this morning, but used 1/2 cup of almonds, 1/2 cup dates, 1 square of baking dark chocolate. After processing it for a long time, it wasn't sticking together well so I added about 1/2 Tbs of peanut butter. It came out pretty well. I made 7 balls instead of bars (aka Laraballs, lol) because it took too much work to shape into squares. Thanks for the base recipe! These really are a great post-exercise or even late night snack.

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