I’m right in the middle of enjoying two lovely weeks of vacation. This has meant more sleep, less stress, more time with family and friends, and less time on the road. It’s also meant more time to enjoy getting back into one of my favourite hobbies; baking!
I’ve really fallen off the home baking/cooking bandwagon a lot in the last few months as work hours and stress have increased. Carter helped by taking over a lot of the cooking, but baking definitely took a backseat. Okay, it pretty much just didn’t happen. Having some more time to myself lately as well as cultivating our new interest in healthy eating has meant that I’ve finally gotten my butt back in the kitchen, and I’m loving it!
This morning, while out blueberry picking with Kitten and my sister, my sister offered us a “chocolate bar.” She wouldn’t tell us what was in it until we tried it. We tried it and loved it! Turns out, she had made some chocolate date bars. When she described the ingredients, I recognized them from Pinterest recipes I’ve seen for homemade “Lara” bars. They seemed to me like something that health fanatics SAY taste delicious, but are disgusting to those of us who actually enjoy sweets in all their sinful glory! Well, I was wrong! These things are amazing!
As soon as I got home (after stopping off at the grocery store for some dates and seeds), I did some poking around on Pinterest, and ended up making my own homemade Lara bars, with a nut-free twist, as I enjoy not dying (I have a nut and legume allergy).
I used this recipe as my guide:
Instead of almonds and pecans, I used a mixture of mostly sunflower seeds with some large-flake oats, shredded coconut, and even a handful of banana chips. The mixture was a coming out a bit dry, so I just added a date at a time to the food processor while it was running until it became the sticky dough that the recipe described. The bars ended up being moist, fudge-textured, naturally sweet, and chocolatey, and everyone in my family loved them and wanted more than one; even fussy Frog! Score! I despise raisins and prunes and as a result have always turned my nose up at any recipe containing dates, expecting the product to taste like a giant pureed raisin (barf), but this recipe has converted me. I’ve pinned a few more homemade Lara bar recipes for future reference and am excited that there are many variables and flavours possible, all made from healthy, whole ingredients, no added oils or sweeteners, and whipped up in ten minutes or less, with no actual baking required! I think these will become a regular healthy snack option in my household. Next time I’m going to try to make them with cocoa instead of chocolate chips to amp up the health factor; but I was trying to ease the family in gently. 🙂
Try them; you might also be surprised at just how delicious healthy can be!