This is the easiest recipe you will ever make. Five minutes flat. Get your almonds out.
Well, let’s back up one hot second. This all started with my New Year’s resolution. I didn’t make a New Years’ resolution this year until I was sitting in a chair at the dentist’s office. My dentist asked me if I had made a resolution and when I said no, I felt really lame. So I made a goal: to not eat refined sugar for a week.
That might sound a little stupid, but truth: I eat way too much sugar for my own good. And truth: I’ve been meaning to cut down on my sugar intake for a long time.* And truth: I’m hoping if I can make it one week, I can make it two. Or three. Or three months. (I hear that resets your tastebuds. So really, my goal fits into the larger picture of things.)
So my goal didn’t include cutting out ALL sugar completely and forever. I had my emergency parachute ready and waiting: Larabars and PB&Js (I’m obsessed with peanut butter in case you couldn’t tell).
I had my first Larabar while shopping for Christmas presents—I was wandering around REI trying to guess what size shoe my dad wears, and with the bad judgment of a famished person, snagged a $1.68 bar off of a rack of snack bars that I would never normally touch. It was Cherry Pie flavored, natch. So. Good.
All the hype about Larabars and how there’s only natural ingredients blah blah OMG. It’s so true. They’re so naturally sweet and delicious with a great chewy texture from the dates and crunch from the nuts and yum. A perfect natural kick to trump my obsessive sweet tooth (sweet teeth?). Eating these feel like doing something good for your body. And they’re so cheap to make at home if you buy your almonds and dates from somewhere like Costco! Economical health = I like.
Now get your cherries and dates out and let’s get Larabar-eating!
*What does that mean for the blog? It means I’ll be shifting my focus to more whole foods and natural sweeteners. This year, I may not post about pancakes EVERY Friday, but you can bet Pancake Fridays will still be a thing.
More variations: These are so easy, and there are so many recipes out there for Larabar knockoffs that I hesitated about posting these, but I figured might as well spread the love. The more people eating these delicious things, the better!
For more flavor ideas, including but not limited to carrot cake, chocolate chip cookie dough and lemon bar, Maggie @ Rawified has the most complete collection of Larabar flavor ideas I’ve seen. It’s completely awesome. I want to be her friend.
Nutrition: I calculated these to be about 165 calories per bar.
1/2 cup pitted dates (small ones from Costco) = about 9 dates = ~180 calories
1/2 cup almonds = 320 calories
1/2 cup dried cherries = 160 calories
660 calories/4 = 165 yummy calories. They’re small, but the flavor is intense. And with all the dried fruit and nuts? Totally filling.
Cherry Pie Larabars
Inspired by Rawified
Yield: 4 bars
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 – 1 tablespoon warm water
In a food processor, process the dates and almonds until finely ground (I used the “grind” button on my machine). Add the cherries and process until the mixture is in uniform chunks, about the size of…oh, I don’t know. Small gravel? If the mixture seems too dry to easily stick together, add warm water 1/4 tablespoon at a time until the mixture starts to clump together. Err on the side of adding less water, because you can’t take it back!
To make nice square bars, I squished the mixture into a rough square with my hands, wrapped it in wax paper, then used a cutting board to press the top flat. I used a random assortment of flat-edged items in my kitchen to press the sides flat.