By contributing writer Tessa
With a new year upon us, we all seem eager to start afresh and eat a bit healthier after the holidays. Why not take some time to whip up your very own flavor of Homemade Lara Bars and save yourself some major cash on a nutritious snack?! They could not be any easier or quicker to make, and no surprise, the homemade version wins out in the taste department too!
Our family has these snacks on hand all the time, and I have shown you how to make our favorite flavor below. However, the technique is the same for all flavors. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices going:
- Cashews + chocolate chips = Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Walnuts + cocoa powder = Chocolate Brownie
- Cashews + almonds + cinnamon + vanilla = Snickerdoodle
- Almonds + cashews + unsweetened grated coconut + coconut oil or butter = Coconut Cream Pie
Play with any combination of nuts you like and consider different spices or dried fruits and citrus zests. With the basic method under your belt, you will be a whiz! I have a couple of of non-traditional Lara Bars you could check out, one is even nut free: Chocolate Chip Lara Bars and Brazil Nut, Lime, & Hemp Power Bars.
Method Note: In this recipe, I have toasted the nuts for a more complex flavor that my family loves. This is totally optional in all flavors and just adds another option for varying the flavors!
Homemade Lara Bars
- 2½ cups pecans
- ¼ cup cacao powder see note
- 15-20 large Medjool dates pitted, or about 8-9 ounces (see note)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Optional Add In’s: coconut flakes mini chocolate chips, any dried fruit
- Lightly toast the pecans by spreading them out on a cookie sheet and baking at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes. You will smell them, toasty and wonderful. Careful not to burn them, it will happen quickly!
- Blend toasted pecans and cacao powder in a food processor until powdery and coarsely ground. Do not process so long that you have nut butter.
- Add in dates and process until blended into dry ingredients, this might take a minute.
- Pulse in the vanilla until well combined.
- Add dried cranberries, pulsing a few times to mix.
- Press mixture into an 8×8 inch dish. Freeze or refrigerate for 1 hour, or until firm, and then cut into 16 squares.