Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Homemade Larabars

I've never been a "bar" eater, especially nutrition bars.  I just can't justify consuming 300 calories from a package smaller than my hand.  With that said, I will admit that I have never tried a store bought Larabar, so I don't really have anything to compare these to.   But I did see them on the shelf at Target when I was there yesterday and couldn't help but laugh at the price.  I will go into the cost details a little later, but really, you can't go wrong with these bars.  

I originally came across this recipe on Pinterest and once I got an understanding of the basic ingredients, I realized the flavor combinations are endless!  The recipe is pretty basic for all the bars, consisting of nuts and dates and then whatever mix-ins you'd like!

Basic Homemade Larabars

2 Cups RAW Nuts (use whatever nuts you like!)
1 Cup Pitted Dates
1 Cup Dried Fruit / Other Mix-ins

Mix-In Ideas:
Apple Cinnamon (dried apples and cinnamon)
Cherry Pie (dried cherries)
Cranberry Raisin (pictured above)
Chocolate Chip (chocolate chips)
Nut Butter Chocolate Chip (nut butter of your choice and chocolate chips)
Fruit Zest & Juice

Like I said, the mix-in ideas are endless!!

Place all ingredients into a food processor (if using mix-ins that you want left intact such as chocolate chips, coconut, etc., leave these out and mix them in by hand later).  Blend until mixture starts to sick together.  Add water if needed (only add 1/2 tsp at a time - you won't need much if any).  Place parchment or wax paper on the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish (I made two batches so spread mine on a small shallow cookie sheet and this was perfect).  Spread mixture on top of the parchment paper and spread out .  Flatten to preferred thickness and make sure they are nice and condensed so they will stick together.  Cover and put in fridge and let sit overnight (or for at least an hour).  The next morning, lift bars out of dish by pulling out the parchment paper.  Cut into desired sized bars and enjoy!

A couple of tips - if you plan on using any "wet" ingredients in your bars, such as fruit zest or nut butters, use only 3/4 cup of dates to begin and add more if needed to help mixture stick together.  


Now you might be asking how these compare cost-wise to the store bought Larabars:

The average price for a single Larabar I discovered is approximately $1.25 (this is how much they were at Target both as singles and in a box of multiples, and you can by a box of 16 bars on for $20, which equals $1.25 per bar).  So let's go with $1.25 per store bought bar. 

Nuts are pricey - lets be honest.  So how can these bars actually be economical, you might ask?  

BULK my friends....BULK.

Let me first tell you that I HATE buffets and buying things out of bulk food bins.  I don't like the idea of someone else's grubby hands having access to food I might be putting in my mouth.  I have even seen people eating straight out of the bulk food bins.  If you are one of these people who do this, please stop.  It just grosses me out!  Just kidding.....but no really, don't do it.

Anyway - I started pricing nuts at various grocery stores and realized these bars were going to be EXPENSIVE!  And then a friend of mine told me about the bulk bins at Winco and I cringed and almost cried.  But I sucked it up one Saturday and went and was pleasantly surprised to see that their bulk bins for nuts are actually the pull down kind so you can't just reach your grubby little hands in the whole bin and pick out what you want to eat at that moment.  So I was a happy girl.  The dried fruit is still in the old fashion barrel type containers, but I'm slowly getting over this phobia and purchased small amounts of dried fruit this way and I'm not sick or dead yet.  So far so good.

But okay, here's the price breakdown:

6 lbs various nuts and seeds + 4 lbs of dried fruit = $24.87 at Winco (your price will vary depending on what kind of nuts you purchase, but I bought cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and pecans) (this would have cost me well over $50 at Safeway or Fred Meyer).  

With the amount of nuts and fruit I purchased, I estimate that I will be able to make approximately 32 bars (each batch makes approximately 8 bars - I might be able to make more than 32 total, but I'm making a very safe estimate). 

This equals about $0.78 per bar!!!


Give it a try and find out for yourself!!!

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