I know that I've mentioned my new Pinterest obsession already, and last week I ran into many recipes for homemade granola bars. What really caught my eye was a few recipes for homemade Lara Bars. If you haven't heard of a Lara Bar before, they are a healthy, gluten-free, snack bar made up of only dried fruits, nuts, and sometimes spices (like cinnamon). They can be kinda pricey at the store though (almost $2 per bar), so when I found this and this recipe I decided to go ahead and try 'em.
After looking at a few different recipes, I decided to go with a very basic mix of dates, raisins, almonds, and flaxseed. A 4-ingredient, healthy wonder. These are full of fiber, protein, potassium (more than a banana's worth), and many B-vitamins. And each bar is just under 150 calories and fills you up. The perfect snack food, if you will.
Be warned, you will need a food processor to make these. I only have a mini-prep processor and it worked fine, but I think they would maybe whip up a bit quicker in a standard size processor.
You will need:
6 whole dates, pitted and coursely chopped
1/4 cup raisins (or any dried fruit: cherries, cranberries, apricots...)
1/3 cup lightly toasted almonds, walnuts, or pecans (I used almonds)
2 Tbl flaxseed (optional, I threw them in for some added nutrition)
First, prepare the wrapping for the bars. Cut 2 pieces of wax paper about 4 inches wide then cut those pieces in half. Set aside.
Grind your nuts and flax in the processor until finely chopped.
Put the dates and raisins into your food processor and process until well blended and as smooth as it will go. This took my processor a good 5-8 minutes. It becomes incredibly sticky and I had to stop frequently to push the mixture down with a spatula. Once fully processed, put the date/raisin mixture in a medium bowl.
Add the ground nut/flaxseed to the bowl with the dates/raisins and mix thoroughly. I used my hands as I found trying to incorporate everything with a spatula wasn't working out so well. Separate into 4 equal parts, placing each part on a piece of prepared wax paper. If you'd like larger bars only separate the mixture into two parts.
Using the wax paper, form into small rectangles.
Fold the wax paper over the bars and twist each end.
Refrigerate until you want to eat them up. I'm excited to have these around to snack on and throw in lunches!
Update: I have made these a few more times and so far Ryan and my favorite fruit-nut combo is dried cherries with pecans - very tasty!