March 12, 2012

Healthy Homemade Larabars with Nutella

I'm not one for packaged foods. Most of the time, anything in a package contains so many processed ingredients, it's hard to refer to it as "real" food.

I'm also not one for health food bars because, no offense to anyone out there who makes/loves/occasionally dabbles in health food bars, many times they taste like birdseed.

But I do like Larabars, which offer simple and natural ingredients. The only drawback? They're expensive, and then you've got the whole package problem to deal with (who needs trash?).

I noticed a trend for homemade Larabars on Pinterest and my interest was, of course, piqued. Impulse shopping at the grocery store led me to pick up a bag of dates. The rest, my friends, are what we call "pantry staples" 'round these parts.

My first attempt at homemade energy bars made the husband ask for more. These are easy to make and give just enough of a natural sugar and protein boost to get me through the next meal.

Nutella Peanut Date Bars
2 cups whole, pitted dates
1 cup unsalted peanuts
2-4 ounces dark chocolate
2 tablespoons Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
sea salt for sprinkling

Line an 8x8 square baking dish with parchment paper so that flaps hang off over either side. In a food processor, pulse the peanuts and chocolate until finely chopped up, like coarse cornmeal. Set aside in a mixing bowl. Put the dates in the food processor and pulse until they're finely chopped. Add the Nutella and process until it's fully incorporated. Finally, add the chocolate and peanuts back to the food processor. Pulse or process until a dough forms; it won't totally stick together, but that's just fine.

Dump the hunk into the prepared baking pan, and use the parchment flaps to press it down. Make it nice and smooth. Sprinkle the top lightly with sea salt. Refrigerate for two hours or freeze for one hour before slicing.

Variations on the theme:
Add cranberries, shredded unsweetened coconut, cocoa, or cinnamon. For a vegan version, omit the chocolate and use peanut butter or almond butter instead of the Nutella. Swap out peanuts for almonds or cashews.

Read more and find other adaptations around the web...
Girl Scout Cookie Larabars, Chocolate Covered Katie
Homemade Larabars, Foodie With Family
Homemade Larabar Recipes, Oh She Glows

The possibilities are endless!


Claire Jain said...

Oodalolly :-) I want to give this a try! Any reason to buy Nutella, right?

Beth said...

Mmm I've made something similar with dates and cashews and chocolate chips. And you made it better with nutella!