If there is one thing I know, it’s that food bloggers love to write about making their own Larabars. It makes sense, really. Larabar ingredients are incredibly simple (usually just dates and nuts) and you can save a bundle by making your own. My mom (who is not a food-blogger but who is a foodie) even sent me a few lovingly wrapped bars in a care package once. I’ve seen recipes for homemade versions cropping up all over the place in the last year, but I have to say that until recently I didn’t really see the point. Why drag out the food processor and make a mess in the kitchen when I could just eat a handful of nuts with a couple dates and call it a day?
I think that logic still has some merit, but during my last busy week of class and clinicals before spring break, I didn’t want a handful of dried fruit and nuts. I wanted a bar. And I realized that I was wasting a good deal of money by buying one at the coffee shop every day. So I hauled out the food processor and set to work.
I couldn’t have asked for these to turn out better. As I was pulling out ingredients for the basic bars, I kept noticing things in my pantry that begged to be included. Raw cacao powder and dark chocolate chips, goji berries, and hemp protein all found their way in with the walnuts, almonds, and dates. I realized that with the added ingredients, I had made a true superfood bar. Oh, and they were delicious.
A quick note about my method: I used walnuts and almonds that had been soaked 8-12 hours and then dehydrated. The reason I did this is because nuts contain compounds called phytates which can block absorption of important vitamins and minerals. Soaking the nuts helps to neutralize the compounds and dehydrating them brings them back their original crunchy state. If you don’t have the time or a dehydrator to do this, I think regular raw nuts would also work as long as you consume them in moderation. Here is a helpful link for more information on how and why to soak nuts and seeds.
So now I’m a homemade Larabar convert and I’ll probably be making another batch during spring break to get me going once classes begin again. My other spring break plans are to have some fun with my sister who is coming for a visit on Wednesday and to spend more time in the kitchen than my finals weeks allowed.
makes 5 bars
– 1 cup almonds (soaked and dehydrated, if possible)
– 1/2 cup walnuts (soaked and dehydrated, if possible)
– 3/4 cup dates, pitted
– 1/3 cup goji berries
– 1/4 cup hemp protein powder
– 2 Tbsp cacao powder
– 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
– 1 Tbsp water (for consistency, may need more or less)
Place all ingredients except water and chocolate chips into the food processor. Pulse for about a minute, scraping down sides if needed, until mixture resembles a course sand.
Add chocolate chips and pulse a few times to mix in. Add about a Tbsp water and pulse until dough is sticky enough to form into bars. Add a little extra water, if needed.
Wrap in plastic or tin foil and store in the refrigerator.