This is not a Larabar.
After our last California vote in November when Prop 37, the GMO food labeling initiative, was not passed I did some online research. I decided to start voting even more with my dollar. I vowed not to buy from companies who supported the defeat of this proposition - a proposition I find to be terribly important. Unfortunately, "Larabar" was one of those companies. I don't eat a lot of "energy" bars but I do always carry a Larabar in my car or purse for emergency carb loading and I do use a Larabar for everyday calorie and protein loading when I backpack. I ate one every single day we were in the Himalaya's trekking a few years ago. They would serve me my oatmeal and coffee or tea and I would add a Larabar. My favorite flavor of all time is the "Cherry Pie"
I've done a little more online research and found some amazingly simple recipes for homemade Larabar's. The thing I've always appreciated about Larabar's is that the main ingredients are few - nuts and dried fruit. No additives, no added sugar, no chemicals.
I decided to try my hand at my version of a "Cherry Pie" energy bar.
Here's the recipe I muddled together using online sources and my own creative notions.
Cherry Pie Raw Energy Bar
2 cups raw organic almonds
2 cups unsweetened dried organic cherries
5 organic dates (pitted)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1. Soak the cherries and dates in warm water for at least 10 minutes.
2. While the dried fruit is soaking put the almonds, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt into the Cuisinart.
3. Take the pits out of the dates, take the fruit out of the warm water and add it to the nuts and other bits in the Cuisinart.
4. Begin to process. At a certain point I had to take the lid off and stir, move the mass around and start the food processor again. I did a lot of moving the mass around and then pushing the pulse button. I also added 2 tbsp of the reserved dried fruit soaking water. This may have made the bars a tad bit gooier than they are supposed to be? Not sure I'll add the water next time. Maybe I'll just be more patient and stir more often and pulse over and over?
My gooey mess didn't grind to quite the smooth consistency I wanted, but after breaking my favorite baking spatula....
I decided to just go with what I had.
I pressed the mess into a medium sized baking pan with parchment paper on top to help me even it out. I put it in the frig for a bit to harden up. I had them in the frig for about 20 - 30 minutes. I think the bars could use a little longer. They are kind of sticky and much moister than the packaged kind. That kind of makes sense, though, since they are incredibly fresh and haven't sat on a shelf in the grocery store.
Here is the finished product. You can see the tiny chunks of fresh almond. The cherries and dates are holding them together. I wrapped them in plastic wrap and am storing in the frig. I have read that you can freeze them for up to a month.
I plan on making these for any road trips, travels to foreign countries where I know eating is going to be challenging, post work out carb and protein load, and backpacking. I think they will make great gifts, too, for all my healthy work out friends!
I can't wait to make these and share them with my weight management students at Cabrillo College next semester.