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James Fiedler
(deefeed) - F - M

Locale: NYC
Make Your Own Larabars on 09/19/2010 17:41:21 MDT Print View

It's really easy to make your own Larabar-type energy bars. All you need is a food processor, dried fruit (mostly dates), nuts, and spices. Here's a basic recipe (the amounts are approximate):

1 pound of dates
1 cup of nuts (almonds and cashews)
Handful of dried cranberries
Couple of dried apricots
Spoonful of unsweetened cocoa powder
Handful of coconut flakes

Chop the dates and any other dried fruits that you are using in a food processor. Scoop the resulting paste aside and then finely grind the nuts and spices. Mix the fruits and nuts together, kneading the mixture into a lightly greased pan (or one that is covered in wax paper). Flatten the mixture down by covering it with plastic wrap and pressing down and shaping with the back of a spoon. Then cool in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, cut the mixture into individual bars, tightly wrapping each with plastic wrap and storing in the refrigerator.

Homemade Larabars

This recipe made 7 bars, each approximately 200-300 calories. The main ingredient, dates, cost me $6 a pound, or 86 cents each bar, which you could lower if you bought in bulk. I found inspiration for this recipe at the following blog, which lists other Larabar recipe ideas:

http://enlightenedcooking.blogspot.com/2008/02/home-made-lara-bars-energy-bars-part-3.html

Let me know if you figure out any other good combinations. I bought dried banana, mango, and brazil nuts to experiment with.

Edited by deefeed on 09/19/2010 17:43:56 MDT.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
awesome on 09/19/2010 18:35:44 MDT Print View

thanks very much, if only BPL had a favorite thread feature so i did not have to rely on bookmarks.

Jeffrey Kuchera
(frankenfeet)

Locale: Great Lakes
This is great! on 09/19/2010 20:17:53 MDT Print View

Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this Dan.
And Ike big plus one on the concept of being able to store threads of interest via BPL instead of being reduced to bookmarking :(

Stephen P
(spavlock) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
bookmarking on 09/19/2010 20:30:01 MDT Print View

I just use the "watch this thread" feature for all of my favorites. It is lacking though. I'm going to give this recipe a try. Thanks!

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Laurie Bars on 09/19/2010 23:35:32 MDT Print View

We make something similar but we call them Laurie Bars. Here's a photo...

Laurie Bars

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Laurie Bars on 09/19/2010 23:40:00 MDT Print View

A super-cool way to keep all those dates from sticking together...Roll them in sesame seeds. I think I learned that trick from my man RawDawg Rory.
His site:
http://rawdawgrory.com/
And his date bars:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvUyBohgwVw

Edited by xnomanx on 09/19/2010 23:41:03 MDT.

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: "Make Your Own Larabars" on 09/19/2010 23:44:35 MDT Print View

C'mon, Laurie, post your recipe.
I don't remember anything like that in your cookbook, "A Fork In the Trail" but I sure enjoyed everything else in there!

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Re: "Make Your Own Larabars" on 09/20/2010 00:19:09 MDT Print View

I will post it but it's in editing at the moment... give me a day or so to post it. The reason it isn't in A Fork in the Trail is because it is actually for my new book which comes out in 2011 called Another Fork in the Trail (it's for the vegan, vegetarian and Celiac backpackers). It would have been out already but I had a bit of a hiccup in the deadline with adding a baby girl to our family. Oops. She's totally worth it even though I am finding it hard to finish up and take care of a 3 month old.

The top one has cherries and cocoa/carob in it and the bottom one blueberries and ginger. I don't really call them Laurie Bars but my husband thought it would be funny.

Just a side note, I'm not sure how accurate this is but I was at the Toronto Outdoor Adventure show and the Larabar rep there was a General Mills employee. I guess Lara sold it?

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 09/20/2010 00:21:35 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
the fork quotation on 09/20/2010 00:29:09 MDT Print View

"If you come to a fork in the road, take it."
Yogi Berra

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
make your own larabars on 09/20/2010 06:34:32 MDT Print View

I like that!

James Fiedler
(deefeed) - F - M

Locale: NYC
RE: Laurie Bars on 09/20/2010 08:08:08 MDT Print View

The Laurie bars look good! I'd be interested to know what proportion of dried fruit to nuts you use.

Edited by deefeed on 09/20/2010 08:09:03 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
My version on 09/20/2010 08:54:16 MDT Print View

I came up with these a couple years ago:

http://www.trailcooking.com/recipes/chocolate-energy-balls

Chocolate Energy Bars

Photobucket

Ingredients

* 1⁄2 c nut butter of choice
* 3 T honey
* 1 t unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1⁄4 c diced dried fruit blend
* 1⁄4 c mini semi sweet chocolate chips
* 3 T shredded natural coconut, divided
* 2 T toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

In a small mixing bowl combine the nut butter, honey and cocoa, then stir in the dried fruit, chocolate chips and 1 Tbsp of the coconut, mix till well blended.
Cover tightly and let chill for 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Take two small bowls and put in one the remaining 2 Tbsp coconut and in the other bowl the toasted sesame seeds.
Scoop out 1 Tablespoon sized balls, drop in either ball and coat lightly. Roll into a ball quickly then coat with more toppings.
Store tightly sealed in the refrigerator till trail time.
Notes

I used cashew butter for mine - any nut butter will work, either smooth or chunky. If you use 'natural' style butters your balls will be softer (which is fine!) over peanut butter that doesn't separate.
You can use other sweeteners as well, use what you like.
On the dried fruit I used a blend from Trader Joe's of golden raisins, cranberries, cherries and blueberries. Any dried berry or fruit will work but keep the size small and uniform.
When making the balls a 1 Tbsp sized 'disher' works great - they are often found in restaurant supply stores, used for making uniform cookies and other things. Well worth owning one!
While these carry well, in hot weather they will soften quickly - consider them a 3 season treat!

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Laurie Bars on 09/20/2010 08:55:47 MDT Print View

Please note that these recipes haven't been through the final edit phase for wording but they have been tested quite thoroughly.

About Dates: Do not use the cooking dates that traditionally come in a brick for this. You want high quality dates such as medjool or honey dates that are loosely packed.


Date, Pecan, Blueberry and Ginger Bars
©2009/2010 Another Fork in the Trail

Makes 8 to 10 bars

The first time I made date bars was when I was a young girl taking a 4-H outdoor living course. As an adult, I wanted to add a little something to the recipe and I've always loved candied ginger. It gives these a nice bite, which livens the tastebuds.

1 cup dates such as medjool or honey dates
3/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/8 cup candied ginger, chopped

Pulse the dates in a food processor until you have a thick paste. Toast the pecans, if desired, in a dry non-stick frying pan over medium heat just until they start to become fragrant. Be careful that you do not burn them. Add to the dates and pulse to chop the nuts. Remove the container from the food processor and take out the blade. Stir in the dried blueberries and candied ginger. Line a square baking pan with plastic wrap and press the mixture firmly into the pan. Refrigerate for an hour and then turn out onto a cutting board. Remove the wrap and cut into 8 to 10 bars. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap and reshape by pressing each side on a flat surface if desired.

Tip: Wipe your knife with a hot water soaked paper towel between cuts to prevent it from sticking. You can reuse the piece of wrap you lined the pan with to wrap your bars.



Spiced Date, Cherry, Almond and Carob Bars
©2009/2010 Another Fork in the Trail

Makes 8 to 10 bars

This version of my date bars was inspired by the Mayan Hot Chocolate in my first book, A Fork in the Trail. I love the little bit of background spice from the cayenne. Just make sure you use it sparingly or your camp mates may be in for a surprise!

1 cup dates such as medjool or honey dates
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/8 cup carob or cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
3/4 cup whole salted almonds

Pulse the dates in a food processor with 1/4 cup of the dried cherries, carob powder and spices until the mixture is ground to a thick paste. Toast the almonds, if desired, in a dry non-stick frying pan over medium heat just until they start to become fragrant. Be careful that you do not burn them. Add to the dates and pulse to chop the nuts. Remove the container from the food processor and take out the blade. Stir in the remainder of the dried cherries. Line a square baking pan with plastic wrap and press the mixture firmly into the pan. Refrigerate for an hour and then turn out onto a cutting board. Remove the wrap and cut into 8 to 10 bars. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap and reshape by pressing each side on a flat surface if desired.

Tip: Wipe your knife with a hot water soaked paper towel between cuts to prevent it from sticking. You can reuse the piece of wrap you lined the pan with to wrap your bars.

Edited.... because I forgot the word "cup" in one spot

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 09/21/2010 10:57:26 MDT.

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Re" "Make Your Own Larabars" on 09/20/2010 09:43:44 MDT Print View

Thank you, Laurie and Sarah! Sarah, I know your book, "Freezer Bag Cooking" almost by heart, too. Both have made perfect gifts for backpacking friends and family.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Re" "Make Your Own Larabars" on 09/20/2010 10:08:18 MDT Print View

You're welcome. Anytime.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
modifying bar recipes on 09/21/2010 08:15:41 MDT Print View

The nice thing about these recipes is that you can easily change the flavors by switching up the fruit and nuts. For example, the Date, Pecan, Blueberry and Ginger Bars could easily become Date, Pistachio, Peach and Ginger Bars.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: My version Part 2 on 09/21/2010 10:20:36 MDT Print View

This is another recipe, 3 ingredients:

http://www.trailcooking.com/recipes/raisin-almond-bars

Photobucket

Raisin Almond Bars

Ingredients

* 1 c whole almonds
* 1 c raisins
* 1 t ground cinnamon

Instructions:
This recipe requires a food processor to effectively grind the ingredients.

Put the almonds and raisins in a colander and rinse well, giving them a good toss while the water runs. Put the cutting blade in the processor bowl, add in the rinsed almonds/raisins and the cinnamon. Process till well mixed and the nuts are the constituency you prefer (I took mine to a fine chunk).

Line a bread pan or similar small pan with plastic wrap, allowing extra for "hang-over". Scrape out the nut mixture with a spatula into the pan. Take a small sheet of plastic wrap and press down, flattening it into the pan evenly. Using the excess plastic wrap hanging out of the pan, lay it over to cover the mixture. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple hours, take out and cut into strips. For ease in cutting use a flat edged cutting tool (pizza cutters, pastry scrapers, etc) rather than a knife.

Store tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or wax paper.


Notes:
Buying in bulk can be an affordable way to make frugal energy bars. We buy our nuts and dried fruits/berries at Costco often. This allows one to use items that are normally expensive (nuts) in a big way.
Store the nuts in your refrigerator or freeze after buying for optimum freshness.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
it's in the details on 09/21/2010 11:14:37 MDT Print View

That's an interesting take on it Sarah. I'm curious as to why you rinsed the raisins. Adding water to the mix by rinsing the raisins and nuts could also create a situation that would easily cause bacterial growth and mold. It's one thing to wipe a sticky knife off with a hot cloth but to add water into the mix by rinsing the fruit and nuts could be problematic and make someone ill.



Someone sent me a private note and suggested that I show the detail and I just happened to have a photo. So, while I thought the original photo showed enough, here is a close-up of the bar texture from the side of the bars.

close-up of backpacking bar recipe

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 09/21/2010 12:05:45 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: it's in the details on 09/21/2010 13:08:16 MDT Print View

The small amount of water softens the raisins - which are notoriously dry. Other dried fruits/berries commercially dried do not have this issue in most cases.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: it's in the details on 09/21/2010 13:11:21 MDT Print View

And yeah, unless your water supply is tainted there is nothing to worry about. Water isn't an evil in this.