Oh, homemade Larabars. It’s been too long. Really though, I can’t say I’ve had a good reason to make energy bars. Let me tell you, my energy is in zero danger of plummeting any time soon. With all the recipe testing going down, my only challenge is trying not to pop the button off my pants from all this good food. The freezer is bursting at the seams; one wrong move and I’m pummeled in the face by a 10-pound solid chunk of homemade pasta sauce or chocolate pie. The last thing I need is an energy bar.
Eric, on the other hand, could use a portable snack. He plays in a volleyball league which meets for a few hours around dinnertime and he’s usually famished by the time he sits down to eat dinner at 9 or 10 pm. Since I can’t play in the league myself (I have a torn meniscus in my knee), I support him in the best way I know how – homemade snacks.
Of course, I enjoyed a couple bars (ok, ok and some dough!) – all in the name of taste-testing purposes of course. It’s amazing how much of an appetite I can work up hovering over a food processor. Tell me I’m not alone.
Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Larabars
Adapted from my 2008 recipe.
Yield: 10-12 bars (shown in photos – 12 servings)
- 1.5 cups raw cashews (230 grams)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt (I used 1/2 tsp)
- 1 cup tightly packed pitted dates* (roughly 190 grams)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp mini dark chocolate chips (or simply chop larger pieces of chocolate)
1. If your dates are stiff or dry, soak the dates in a bowl of water for 30-60 minutes before beginning. Drain well and pat dry before use.
2. Add cashews and salt into a food processor and process the until the cashew crumbs are just smaller than peas, for about 3-4 seconds.
3. Now add in the pitted dates and process until the mixture comes together, for about 15 seconds, or longer if needed. The mixture should stick together easily when you squeeze it between your fingers. If it doesn’t stick or it’s still a bit crumbly, add a very small amount of water (1 tsp at a time) and process it again. I added 1 tsp of water and it was perfect.
4. Add the vanilla and process until combined. Finally, pulse in the chocolate or simply stir in by hand.
5. Line an 8-inch square pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper, one going each way (this makes it easier to lift out). Scoop mixture into pan and smooth out with hand until it’s level. Beginning at the centre, push down firmly all over the mixture. The more you pack it down the better the bars will hold together. Roll out with a pastry roller if you have one (you know I was all over that!).
6. Freeze for at least 15 minutes and then slice into 10-12 bars. The bars are a bit fragile and can break apart, so just handle them carefully. For on-the-go, wrap bars in plastic wrap or tin foil and store in the fridge or freezer. Or just store them all in an air-tight container if enjoying at home. Most importantly of all, hide from other members of the family.
Note: You can use Medjool or honey dates here. Just be sure they are nice and soft.
If you are looking for another tasty energy bar/ball recipe, check out my Dark Chocolate Cherry Energy Bites. Love those!
What’s your favourite Larabar flavour of all time?