Recipes Snacks

Homemade Lara Bars – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Last summer, Bart and I decided to do no-sugar for a month (which turned into a week. . . . ).

I made a pan of homemade lara bars during that week and they were kind of a disaster, mainly because I reread the directions a dozen times and couldn’t figure out whether or not to drain the dates before adding them to the food processor (I didn’t, but I definitely should have). Also, I had no idea dates had pits in them (I am not very bright, clearly), so after two bites I almost chipped a tooth off.

Then Bart bought me a bunch of Lara bars and Clif Bars for my stocking at Christmas and after eating them all in a week after Ella would go to bed at nights, I thought perhaps I should take another stab at making them.

This time, I bought pitted dates.

And when Ella was helping me make them, she picked up one date after another and said, “Why these all have holes in them?”

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Lara Bars
(adapted from Tutupa’s Labs)

Makes an 8×8 pan (about 10 bars)

1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup almonds
3/4 cup quick oats
1 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup peanut butter (I used creamy)
2-3 T water

1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup quick oats (not a typo)

Line an 8×8 pan with tinfoil, leaving some extra on both sides so you can use them like handles to pull the bars out later.

In a food processor, grind the nuts and 3/4 cup oats until they are in fine crumbs. Add the dates and process until you have what looks like coarse wet sand. Add the peanut butter and blend some more. I’ve found you cannot overblend these – the tinier the crumbs, the better your bars will hold together. Add the water, about 1/2 a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is just slightly damp (I usually use all 3 T).

With a spatula stir in the chocolate chips and the remaining oats until evenly distributed.

Pour the mixture into your pan and press them firmly and evenly into all corners. Pack it in as tightly as possible. Oh, really? You think that was as tightly as you can pack it? No, do a little more. I promise you won’t regret it.

Refrigerate for at least an hour. Remove foil and bars from pan and slice into bars or squares. Store in the fridge or freezer.  

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  • Reply Bart February 6, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    That first round made me hesitant to try these again. But these are amazing.

  • Reply Chrissie February 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Do these taste very nutty, or mostly peanut butter/chocolate-y? Also, this may be a silly question, but what exactly are quick oats? Looks like a tasty and healthy treat – have pinned this for future reference!

    • Reply Janssen February 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Mostly peanut butter-y. I think having the combination of nuts means that neither of the nuts is SUPER overpowering. And quick oats are just oats that have been broken up a little, so they cook faster. When you buy any oats at the grocery store, they'll be labeled either "quick oats" (or quick-cooking oats) or "old-fashioned oats." And really, you could use old fashioned oats, they just need to run a bit longer in the food processor and when you add the last 1/4 cup of them, you'd want to run the food processor for a pulse or two to break them up instead of just stirring them in by hand.

  • Reply Karri February 6, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Yummm. Thanks!! I love Lara Bars, but I tend to go crazy on the different flavors and the price adds up!!! I will def. be making these babies!

  • Reply Sheyenne February 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Where do you buy your dates? Are you just using the Sunsweet packages of dates or have you found a better deal elsewhere? I just made some German chocolate truffle balls with dates, nuts, and cocoa powder and they were so yummy, so I'm sure these will be good, but the dates are kind of pricey, so I'm hoping you have an inside track…

  • Reply Laura {a spoonful of joy} February 6, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    yum! i love lara bars but they're just so darn expensive. i never thought to make them myself, though! thanks for sharing the recipe – i will definitely have to try these.

  • Reply Amber February 7, 2013 at 2:43 am

    I love Lara bars! But don't know if I'd make them myself. Way to go!

  • Reply Lindsay February 7, 2013 at 3:54 am

    These look so yummy! I need to go on a sugar fast (especially since I snarfed down four birthday cake Oreos today after work).

  • Reply C February 7, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    These look yummy – and not as difficult as other homemade lara bar recipes I've seen! I am definitely going to try these!

  • Reply Yanay Tabraue February 7, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    These look easy to make and yummy! Do you think other nut butters will work? I recently switched to Almond butter but it may be too runny for these bars. Thoughts?

    • Reply Janssen February 13, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      I think it'd work fine. Maybe just don't use the water!

  • Reply Mandy February 7, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    i have made a similar version before but i rolled mine into balls instead of pressing them into bars. they sure are yummy! i should try them again soon.

  • Reply Amanda July 10, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Do you think using all cashews would work? Out of almonds…

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