Like the bagels from a previous post, this is another case of “buy it or make it.” I became slightly obsessed with making my own Lärabars because my three year old is bonkers for them and they don’t come cheap! Plus they rank high on my radar for natural ingredients and portability. Luckily I came across this great feature on Chow and decided to get to work. Basically, it’s like making rice crispy bars: super simple, but kind of a sticky mess. If you can put on blinders for the sticky mess part, or do what I did and ask your husband ever-so-nicely to clean up the mess, you’ll be delighted with the results. Just throw all these sticky things in a food processor and let it whirl. Ta-da, homemade Lärabars. This recipe makes about 16 small bars. I keep about four out at a time and freeze the rest until we’re ready for more. Just be sure they’re defrosted before eating them or you may end up at the dentist. Definitely make it!
- 2 cups slivered almonds
- 1 cup dried black Mission figs (about 6 ounces), stemmed and halved
- 2 ½ cups dried Medjool dates (about 1 pound), pitted
- 3 tbsp. almond butter
- 1 tsp. orange zest (from about 1 medium orange)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 cup crispy brown rice cereal (rice crispies made from brown rice, find them at any health food store)
- Heat the oven to 350°F.
- Place almonds on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and bake, stirring halfway through, until fragrant and light golden brown, about 8–10 minutes. Keep a close eye on these, they burn quickly. At the slightest hint of brown, pull them out. Allow almonds to cool completely.
- Place an 8-by-18-inch piece of waxed or parchment paper in an 8-by-8-inch baking pan; set aside.
- Place figs in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl.
- Place cooled almonds in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped and the texture of fine meal. Add dates and process, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until dates and almonds are combined and dates are finely chopped, about 45 seconds. Add almond butter, orange zest, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and reserved chopped figs and process until evenly combined, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, about 45 seconds. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add rice cereal.
- Using your hands, knead the cereal into the fig-date-almond mixture until evenly incorporated.
- Transfer mixture to the prepared baking pan and, using your hands, pat it into an even layer to the edges of the pan. Fold the waxed or parchment paper over and press down on it with the bottom of a measuring cup or a flat-bottomed cup until the mixture is firmly packed and the top is smooth. Freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight.
- Lift the paper and the energy bar slab out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Remove and discard the paper. Cut the slab into four squares, then cut each square into four (4-by-1-inch) bars to form 16 bars total. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap. Store at room temperature for up to five days or freeze for up to three weeks; let frozen bars come to room temperature before eating.