Sunday, April 10, 2011

Raw Energy Bars

When I need a quick breakfast or afternoon snack, I regularly turn to Larabars.  They're vegan, raw, and have fewer ingredients than I can count on one hand, with no preservatives and no added sugar.  I love them.  I have wanted to make my own for a while now, to save some money and to be able to experiment with flavors.  I knew that the bars were essentially date-paste mixed with nuts and fruit and stuff, but I've never made raw foods with dates.  I was intimidated.  I thought it would be hard.

It's not.

A few days ago, my friend Abby (also a fan of Larabars) directed me to a wonderful, vegan-friendly cooking blog, Enlightened Cooking, that had a recipe for Lara-type bars.  Excited, I went out and bought same dates and got to experimenting.

I hit the yummy/easy goldmine.  All you need is 10 minutes and a food processor.

Three simple and wholesome ingredients

Raw Energy Bars
This recipe makes about four bars.  You can easily double it.

1/2 cup medjool dates, roughly chopped (about 4-5 dates) (see note)
1/3 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

  1. Puree the chopped dates in a food processor until they become a paste.  Scrape into a bowl, and do not clean the processor's bowl.
  2. Pulse the almonds in the food processor until roughly chopped.  Dump into the bowl with the date paste.
  3. Add the coconut.
  4. Smoosh everything together with your fingers until well-combined (see photo below)
  5. Use a sharp knife to cut the date paste ball into quarters.  Roll and press each quarter into a bar shape.
  6. Wrap bars in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

The date paste-almond-coconut ball after being properly smooshed.

Fancy dessert variation -- Amaretto Coconut Balls: leave out the coconut at first, and add a small splash of vanilla.  Then, separate the date paste and almond ball into 8 - 10 segments, and roll into balls.  Spread the coconut flakes on a plate, and roll the balls in the coconut.

Note on dates: use medjool dates, which you can find in the bulk or produce section of your local grocery store.  Almost all natural food stores carry them.  Be careful, though-- these dates are so sweet and delicious, you will quickly become addicted.

Ready to go wherever you do.

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