More “lunchtime” confessions today………
As hard as it is for me to have a proper lunch at home (see here and here for my typical “go-to’s”), it’s virtually impossible when I’m out and about. I will often just throw some cashews and dried cranberries in a Ziploc (with maybe a piece of cheese), but pack a sandwich? Not happening.
Which is why I’m such a fan of Larabars – particularly the “Cherry Pie” variety. With just 3 ingredients – dates, cherries and almonds – they qualify (for me anyway) as “real” food, and have a decent amount of protein to boot. They are filling enough to keep me going, and I love the convenience – just toss a few bars in my bag and I’m off.
Larabars were a natural for my “D.I.Y.” series, so I set about searching on-line for some recipes – and was shocked to see how many people have made their own! This was great as I had lots of different recipes and techniques to choose from.
I settled on the recipe below, as it looked closest to the bars I like – I tweaked it a little and they came out great! I would imagine that you could do any number of riffs on this, to suit your preferences. Let me know if you try them – especially if you make your own variation! And I’m curious – do you have a filling, not-too-junky snack that you like to have on-hand? Please share; I’d be most appreciative!
adapted from Foodie With Family
2 c. raw whole almonds
1/2 c. coarsely chopped dark chocolate (from a 3-4 oz. bar; can use chips if preferred)*
3 c. whole, pitted dates
1 c. dried, unsweetened cherries
2 T. almond butter (or any “nut” butter you prefer), divided
Line a 9 x 13 straight-sided pan with a piece of parchment paper, so that the paper hangs over the long sides.
Place the almonds in your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the chocolate and pulse again until finely chopped. Pour mixture into a large bowl; set aside.
Place half of the fruit in the food processor and process until a paste forms and clumps together. Add 1 T. of the nut butter and 1/2 of the almond/chocolate mixture; process until evenly combined. Scrape into the prepared pan.
Repeat with the remaining fruit, nut butter and almond/chocolate mixture. Scrape into the prepared pan.
With slightly wet hands, press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Fold the excess parchment over the bars to cover, and use something flat and heavy to press down firmly on the mixture until it is smooth (I used a small cutting board). Chill for at least two hours. Using the parchment paper as a guide, transfer the bars to a cutting board. Cut into desired shapes (I cut mine into 30 small-ish rectangular bars). Store, covered, in the refrigerator.
*I know, I know, I don’t like chocolate, right? But I “kind of ” like dark chocolate, especially when it’s chilled, and it seemed to work well with the recipe. Just go with it.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver