Monday, March 10, 2014

Homemade Larabars

Winter is on its way out (no really, it must be...if I keep saying it, it's bound to happen one day).  That means it's the time of year for longer runs, rides and swims.  It's also the time of year when we're generally eating a lot of larabars.  Larabars give us the calories and carbs we need to fuel those training sessions and have a great ingredient list without a bunch of preservatives or artificial flavors.  Unfortunately, they're about $1 each even on sale and that can quickly add up.  I decided to try making my own.  A quick google search didn't find me quite what I wanted, so I set out to experiment and came up with my own recipe.  My favorite flavor is chocolate chip cookie dough, so that's the flavor I started with.

1 1/2c choc chips
1c walnuts
8c dates
1/2c water (I used Mariani brand dates, other brands may need less or more water)
2T cocoa

Finely chop chocolate chips in food processor
Finely chop walnuts in food processor
Process dates and water in food processor.  I just did this straight (in small batches), but in hindsight, I think it'd probably work best to use hot water and let the dates soak in the water for a little bit first
Mix all of the ingredients along with the cocoa powder (I used my stand mixer for this)
Scrape the whole mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper.  And look, let's just all admit it looks like a giant turd. 
Place another sheet of parchment paper on top and use your hands to mash it into a rectangle shape

If you want your bars to be more uniform, use a rolling pin to smooth out the top
The parchment paper will peel right off
After letting the slab o' fruit bar sit for an hour or two to dry out a bit, you can use a pastry cutter to cut the bars. 
After they were cut, I flipped them over and left them to dry for a while on the other side too.  Then I stacked them in an airtight container with parchment paper between each layer.

I purchased my dates and walnuts at Sam's, so I ended up spending about $10 total.  That made 27 bars that were the same size (by weight) of store bought larabars.  Only 37 cents a bar, that's like getting a whole box (of 5 bars) for $1.85!  When you eat as many larabars as we do, that's totally worth putting up with the image of a turd on parchment paper that may occasionally spring to mind.


Anonymous said...

Started making my own Gu's. I've made 2 kinds so far and both are very stable when eaten. Also made a power ball that at 1oz contains just over 220 cal. Like the larabar receipt. You may want to try exchanging some of the choc chips for maltodextrin as it is a more stable release energy source. Uncle Coo

The Hills said...

Thanks for the tip! What do you put in the gu? I've never been able to tolerate them, I carry a small bottle of honey instead.

Anonymous said...
I've made this one. I need to work on getting the date pieces smaller. I have had this on a 3:30 hour run and never felt a low spot.

This is the receipt iI used for the more traditional gu. Might boil it down a little longer next time. The sugars from this are a lot more tolerable. I've never gotten that sugar over dose.

The Hills said...

I wonder if a food mill like we used for the babies would help with getting smaller date pieces on the first recipe. Maybe food mill them, then run through blender, adding the other ingredients a little at a time? I will have to play around with these, I'm still working towards half ironman as my long-term goal and I've learned I don't make it longer than about an hour without food.


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