I'm super excited about these! Have you gotten hooked on Larabars yet? They are these wonderful, healthy little bars. They taste amazing, and the ingredient list is so clean. All they contain is cashews, dates, and depending on the flavor, other natural ingredients. Plus, they are raw. They are a great product indeed!
Awhile ago, my niece Amy's sister in law Katie (got that?) posted a recipe for homemade Larabars and I thought they looked good, but I hadn't really tasted one yet so I didn't take an interest in making them at the time. THEN, I tasted one and all I could think of is when can I make these!!
I did a bit more research as well, and found this website which is fabulous in showing how to go about the process. I like the build-your-own formula they have:
1 cup pitted dates(I use Medjool) + 1 cup raw cashews
+ flavoring (if desired)
+ 1 cup add-ins of your choice
They have also listed the ingredients needed to make some of the more popular Larabar flavors.
The first ones I tried, I used 1 cup dried apricots and 2 tsp. vanilla extract. YUM! Then I got on a roll and made another one: coconut-lemon-blueberry (1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/2 cup dried blueberries, 1 tsp. pure lemon extract). That one was really good! Then I made a variation of one from Katie's site - the chocolate almond (substituted half almonds instead of all cashews, leaving some in big pieces + 1 Tbsp. raw almond butter and 1/8 cup chopped dark chocolate). Rich was sitting at the kitchen table as I worked and at one point I just blurted out, "this is so much fun!!" :-) He was happy too, because I kept bringing him samples. I was having such great success, it was starting to become addicting! There are endless combinations I'm eager to try.
The method is easy - I used my trusty big 'ole Cuisinart food processor and first pulverized the dates and cashews together. You have to let it go awhile so it's like a paste. Then, I added in the flavoring (the extracts) and pulsed some more. After that was all incorporated, I added my "add ins" and pulsed just enough to incorporate. You don't want to totally break up the add ins or turn them into a paste.
I turned each batch onto wax paper and shaped into a square shape about 1/2" thick with my hands. I cut them into bars and wrapped each one in waxed paper. I'm storing them in Ziploc bags in the fridge. I'm not worried about their shelf life because they won't last long around here. But I would guess it's several weeks. Emma LOVES the blueberry ones, and has already asked me to make more. She said "this is pretty much the best bar I've ever had."
These little powerhouses of energy will be great to grab as breakfast on-the-go or as a mid afternoon pick-me-up. Here are some of the health benefits of these bars:
-minerals: magnesium, selenium, copper, zinc, manganese, potassium, and iron
-vitamins: B5, B-6, vitamin E riboflavin, thiamin
-cashews are also one of Dr. Oz's 4 anti-cancer super foods (for whatever that is worth.)
-tannins (anti inflammitory)
-vitamin A, B-complex, vitamin K, riboflavin, niacin
-antioxidants: beta carotene, lutein
-minerals: iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper
Plus did I mention these are INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS?? Good tasting and good for you = my kind of food. :-)