Clara and many of her little buddies love Larabars. They are “energy” bars that are made primarily with dried fruit (mostly dates) and nuts. They have very few ingredients, no preservatives, and nothing artificial. Plus they are really yummy! After looking at them for a while, searching for recipes online, and summoning up my courage, I decided that I didn’t need to buy these! I could make them.
Larabars are very expensive for what they are. The cheapest place that I have seen them sold is Costco where they are $17 for eighteen bars… which (I did the math myself!) ends up costing $8.95 a pound. That is more than I would EVER spend on any food, including steak or prime rib! Its hard for me to justify buying them for a toddler snack, even if the little girl does love them. So, I figured it out and the Larabars that I made today cost just $2.19 a pound! Whoa, that’s a huge difference! They are also just as yummy, although they don’t hold together quite as well (possibly because I can’t pack them as tightly as a machine), but they don’t come with cute, portable packaging. They come in a tupperware. I can make much more fun shapes out of mine, though.
They were REALLY easy to make, too. I mean, anyone could make them as long as they had a good food processor, some plastic wrap, and a bit of time. To make 5.6 pounds of Larabars took me about 45 minutes. So, without further ado, here is the recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabars. I modified from this online recipe.
1 cup roughly chopped dates (Take out the pits if yours have them!)
1 1/2 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
3 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Put a piece of plastic wrap on the counter now, before your hands get sticky. After chopping up your dates, throw them into the food processor and whirl them around until they form a ball that clumps together and seems to be a uniform paste (about 20 seconds in mine).
Put those into the bowl, too. Add all of the other ingredients to the bowl. Smoosh it all together with your hands, as if you were mixing up a meatloaf. Except this you can lick off your hands without making yourself sick. 😉 Once its all together, dump it out onto the plastic wrap and wash your hands. Wrap the plastic around it and smoosh it into a uniform rectangle the width and depth that you would like your bars to be. Then unwrap them and cut them into bars (or use cookie cutters to cut them into any shape you want! Hint: If you want them to hold together a bit more and don’t care if they are “raw,” you can bake them at 200 degrees for 20-40 minutes, depending on size.
Enjoy, but don’t let your toddler get them all over your new couch. They smoosh easily. I’m warning you now!
I also made Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ones (substitute peanuts for the cashews) and apricot/walnut ones (see the page that I got my recipe from for details on this). All were a big hit and all three of us loved them. Fin hasn’t tried any, though, so whatever he tells you about them is a lie.