LARA-type Bars

So we have made 3 pretty good vegan recipes so far that are worth posting.  The first is homemade LARA bars.  If you don’t know what this yummy goodness is, go to the store and buy one.  They are found with the power bars.  They are all-natural power/protein bars.  I would live off them, but at $1-$1.50 a bar they are really pricey.  Unless you make them yourself!

Homemade LARA bars – very cherry flavor

2 cups whole pitted dates (this is important don’t get any other kind)

2 cups dried cherries or dried cranberries (I bought dried bing cherries with no sugar added, very mild and sweet.  If you buy cherries/cranberries in the store you most often get added sugar, try to buy without, trust me you don’t need it)

2 2/3 cups pecans, almonds, or walnuts (I used almonds and roasted half of them at 350 for 10 minutes, toasty!  But using them raw is equally yummy, try both ways to see what you prefer.  Jacob prefers raw, I prefer roasted, so we compromised)

1 teaspoon cinnamon (I use a little more, a rounded teaspoon, bec I love cinnamon)

Place dates, cherries/cranberries, and half of cinnamon in large food processor.  PULSE until a fine paste is made.  This can take up to five minutes.  But don’t just turn your food processor on and let it run, I burned my motor out that way.  (I pulsed in 10-30 second intervals for those inquiring minds out there.)

Transfer paste to a bowl.  Don’t clean out processor and don’t feel the need to scrape every bit out.

Place nuts plus rest of cinnamon into food processor.  PULSE until a chopped finely.  Again don’t just turn your processor on and leave it, you get nut-butter that way and an overheated motor. 

Pour ground nuts into bowl with fruit paste.  Use your hands (it gets messy) and mix until well combined.  It will take a few minutes to get all the nuts worked in.

(I wanted to see if we could just put it all back in the food processor and have it mix it together but Jacob said he wasn’t going to buy another food processor if it was too much for the motor to handle.  Kill joy.  If any of you out there want to give it a try, let me know how it goes.)

Take mixture and press into 9×13 inch glass pan.  (Glass because you need a knife to cut them and that could potentially scratch metal.)

Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to a week, if they last that long!  They may store longer in the fridge, I have just never found out as I eat them in a matter of days.

I use them as a quick breakfast and snack option.

And now the cost:

$2.89:      for 1-8oz bag of dates, gives you exactly two cups

$3.12:      for 8oz bag dried cranberries, again two cups  

$3.33:      for using 2/3 of  1 bag 16oz raw almonds, (entire bag cost $4.99)

$0.00:     for 1-tsp cinnamon, (if you don’t own it already, seriously?)

$9.34 TOTAL cost for getting the equivalent of about 16 LARA bars. 

$0.58 PER BAR, totally affordable breakfast/snack option

(I cost this all out using the price for cranberries as I had the cherries on hand and didn’t have the receipt for what they cost.  Using cherries will increase your costs.)

You can take your cost even lower if you use unsalted or lightly salted peanuts instead, and it taste like a PB&J!  Lower your cost even further by using raisins instead of dates but spring for the super-moist raisins otherwise it won’t make a fine paste in the processor.

(Sub in raisins only for the PB&J version).

I’ll post pictures soon of each step so you can see what the paste and ground nuts should look like.


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