Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Homemade blueberry muffin Lärabars

Contest update: Original winner Jennifer did not claim her prize and did not leave a valid email address, so an alternate winner was chosen: Stacey!  Stacey said, "For one month, limit your TV/movie watching to only the time you spend exercising. For example, you exercise 30 minutes a day, three times a week--you get 1 1/2 hours of TV/movie veg time a week. That will get some people moving!Stacey, please contact me to claim your crockpot!

Lärabars are one of those things that I like to snack on, but I'll only buy if they're either on sale or if I have a coupon (which is very rare). They so tasty and good for you, but they are expensive.  I saw use real butter's recipe for homemade Lärabars appear on my Google Reader one day and immediately bookmarked them. I hadn't gotten around to making them until recently because our supply of homemade cereal bars had been plentiful until now.

I didn't realize that Lärabars only contained a few ingredients - including dates. Huh? After I read this recipe, it totally made sense because Lärabars are always so juicy, and it was from the dates! I should have known.

During our regular weekend errand run, I bought all the ingredients I needed to make these bars.  The hardest part about this recipe was cleaning up my blender, and it wasn't even that difficult!  These are even easier than the homemade cereal bars because you don't need to wait 2 hours for the bars to bind together.

I absolutely love these bars and don't think I'm going to buy the real version for a long, long time. I'm excited to try different variations using other dried fruits - I'm thinking of flavors like mango, apple, and fig.

If you want to save money on Lärabars or other pre-packaged bars, give these a try!

Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried blueberries (I found mine at Trader Joe's)
  • 1 cup dates, pitted (use Medjools over Deglets – they bind better; see note below)
  • 2 cups cashews (try to find either no salt or low sodium - you don't want your bars to be too salty! I bought a pack of low sodium cashews from Trader Joe's.)
  • 1 lemon, grated zest of
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds of
Directions
Chop the blueberries in a food processor (I used a blender since I don't own a food processor). If you whirl them around for a bit and nothing seems to change, stop the processor and examine one of the berries – if it is cut up in several places, it should be ready and will combine easily when mixed. Place the blueberries in a large mixing bowl. Mine never got chopped up, but the bars turned out great.

Chop the dates in the food processor or blender until gooey and scrape those into the mixing bowl with the blueberries.

Chop the cashews in the food processor or blender until they resemble coarse crumbs. Empty the cashews into the mixing bowl. Add the grated lemon zest and the vanilla bean seeds to the fruits and nuts.

Mix or knead thoroughly by hand and press into an 8 or 9-inch baking pan to about 1/2-inch thickness.  Once I kneaded the mixture, the blueberries started becoming mushed, but it turned the bars into a beautiful blue hue!

Refrigerate for 30 minutes then turn the square out onto a cutting board. Slice to desired size and shape.

Note: I was so excited about these bars that I made a second batch. I bought a can of pitted dates from Target (I don't remember the brand), but that batch turned out horrendously because the dates were too hard. Make sure that the dates you purchase are plump, juicy and soft. The second batch of dates broke my blender! The first batch of dates was Dole brand's resealable package from Kroger. The first batch of bars turned out wonderfully.

Yield: Makes 10, 1.7 x 4.25-inch bars.

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1 comment:

  1. I don't think I have ever had a Larabar, but this looks delicious. With all the baking I do, I should break it up with some healthy, yummy recipes like this.

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