13 Oct

chocolate & espresso larabars

 

I normally steer clear of packaged snack bars because they’re usually pricey and full of mystery ingredients, but Larabars contain simple wholesome ingredients like fruit, nuts, spices and chocolate.

I’m okay with all of those things.

In fact, when I read the ingredients listed on the back of a Larabar wrapper, my first thought was I could totally make these.

So I did and let me tell you, these are insanely easy to make. In fact, once you make your own Larabars, you’ll probably never buy them again.

All you need is a blender or food processor, some dates, nuts and whatever add-ins you like.

You just dump everything into your blender or food processor, pulse until the mixture comes together, press it into a pan, and toss it into the freezer to firm up for about half an hour so that you can cut it into bars.

Seriously, that’s it.

And if you don’t want to wait on your freezer, you can just roll the mixture into balls and eat it that way.

Take it a step further and dip the balls into dark chocolate. These would be a much healthier alternative to cake pops and you could decorate them just as easily.

Anytime I want to really test out a new recipe, I send it off to work with my husband so that he can share it with his coworkers. Then he reports back in the morning whether it was a hit or a miss.

These were a big hit.

If you think you won’t like these because you’re not a fan of dates, you’ll be happy to know that the dates aren’t a predominate flavor in these bars. They just add natural sweetness and act as the glue that holds everything together. They also bring a good bit of potassium, vitamin A, calcium, and magnesium to the party.

Larabars are usually made with cashews but I had two huge jars of peanuts in my pantry so that’s what I used. If you don’t like peanuts or can’t use them due to an allergy, just use the same amount of cashews instead.

 

Ingredients

15 Medjool dates

1 cup honey roasted peanuts

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp real maple syrup

1 tsp instant espresso powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup chocolate chips

 

Directions

Add the peanuts to the blender and pulse a few times to chop them up a bit. You’re not making peanut butter, just getting them chopped up fairly well so a few pulses should do.

Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and pulse several times to combine. You may have to scrape the sides down a couple of times during the process.

Once everything is well blended you’ll need to consider the following options:

You could empty the mixture into an 8×8 inch pan lined with plastic wrap and press it out evenly. Then toss in the freezer for about half an hour. Once set, you can cut it into bars. This method will yield you 12 thin bars.

I prefer mine a little thicker so I use a loaf pan. Same method applies here.

Alternatively, you could roll the mixture into balls or press into a muffin tin that was lined with paper cups.

There’s no wrong way to do this.

I will say that these are much better right out of the fridge so I would store them there if you can. If not, they’ll be just fine at room temperature.

I like to wrap mine individually in plastic wrap so that I can just toss one into a lunch box or my purse.

If you’re making these for little ones, you can leave the espresso powder out. The finished bars will still taste just as good.

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