Saturday, October 14, 2006

Lara Bars

these things seem to be all the rage right now - they're the latest "nutrition" or "sports" bar but with an un-processed, all-natural, all-raw, "healthy" twist. after checking out the ingredients online it seemed to me that they were nothing more than a new take on that old seventies classic, the dreaded date roll.

out of curiosity i picked one up at trader joes the other day for a buck something and gave it a nibble. i was expecting something overly sweet yet bland. i was disappointed. it was good. too good really. if you read the nutrition information, one bar has about 220 calories, which is a lot of calories and more like a light meal than a snack. but they are handy for when you do need something to eat and there's nothing to be had and you're starting to get that headache that signals the imminent onset of extreme, pms-mimicing grouchiness. i'm keeping one in my car. next time i travel i'll pack a few along. if you're a bike rider or long-distance runner or something like that, they could come in handy. these also could be a good all-natural snack for kids. the recipe that follows is my approximation of the base. add whatever suits your fancy. the quantities are for one bar only, so be sure to multiply to get your desired amount.

homemade lara-type bars
makes 1 bar
1 Tablespoon dates, pureed
3 Tablespoons dry ingredients (nuts, dried fruits, coconut, oats, etc.)

pit dates and whir in a food processor or mash by hand until they're one sticky mass. this will be the base, the "glue" that will hold it all together. to this base, add about 3 Tablespoons of finely diced dried ingredients - the nuts of your choice (almonds, cashews, pecans, hazlenut, etc.), dried fruit, oats, spices, etc. with your hands mix it all together and form into a tight ball. roll this ball into a rope and then pat it flat into a rectangle. tightly wrap in plastic wrap (the wrapping will help the bar hold it's shape as you further mold it) and apply pressure to the top using a flat surface - a cutting board works well. to shape the sides you can take two knives and apply pressure to opposite ends of the bars. refrigerate wrapped. for larger batches shape into a larger square, chill and cut into desired bar shapes with a very sharp knife.

some tasty combinations:
cashew: 1 Tablespoon dates + 3 Tablespoons cashews
almond coconut: 1 Tablespoon dates +2 Tablespoons almonds + 1 Tablespoon unsweetened coconut
almond spice: 1 Tablespoon dates + 3 Tablespoons almonds + 1/4 teaspoon each: cinnamon & nutmeg + 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger.
cranberry coconut: 2 Tablespoons minced dried cranberries, 1 Tablespoon unsweetened coconut

(from the Bunnyfoot blog)

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