Sunday, May 22, 2011

Larabar like Granola Bars

I have always been a big fan of the Larabar.  If you've never tired them, you should.  I love to read the ingredients on the packages.  I think the peanut butter cookie bar has 3 total ingredients.  One of the main they always use is dates, its the base of the bar.  So when my parents came home from Yuma this year bringing me a giant bag of fresh dates from one of the date farms down there, I had to attempt these bars.  And if I do say so myself, they are pretty tasty!

What you'll need: (it seems like a lot of nuts, but if you buy them in bulk its not bad at all.  Also, feel free to substitute one nut for another)
15 dates (be sure they are pitted)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw almonds
2 generous tablespoons peanut butter
3 tablespoons wheat germ
2 tablespoons flax seed
4 tablespoons bran flakes
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Quickly pulse chocolate chips in food processor.  You want them in chunks, not finely ground. Set aside in large bowl.  Add all nuts to food processor, and pulse for a few seconds until they are fairly ground, but still a little chunky.  Place in bowl with chocolate.  Add dates, cranberries and peanut butter to food processor.  Pulse until a gritty paste forms.  Add to bowl.  Now add flax seed, wheat germ and bran flakes to bowl and combine everything together.  I used my hands, the mixtures seems a little dry, but it will combine.  I found it easier to mash together with my hands than try and mix with a large spoon.  Line a small baking dish (I used my 7x11 baking pan that fits inside my 9x13) with parchment paper and pour mix into pan.  Throw your weight into it, and firm press evenly into pan.  Place into fridge or freezer and allow to cool.  Cut into bars, wrap in baggies or parchment paper and store in the fridge.

I eat a granola bar almost every day for breakfast.  So why not make my own.  I had made a batch a while back where the nuts, oats, flax and wheat germ is toasted.  I had everything together, but I think the wheat germ toasted quicker than everything else and tasted a little burnt.  They were good, but not worthy of a post.  I really like these because there was no oven involved.  Maybe next time I will attempt the toasted version again. Enjoy!

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