Tuesday, July 17, 2012

carrot cake lara bar copycat

 Bars are one of my favorite snacks to pack myself during the day, they are compact, non-messy, and delicious! Lara bars are some of my favorite bars to carry around with me because of their simple, pure ingredients and delicious flavors (unlike the dreaded Power Bar!). The one downer about these bars is that they are so expensive (a $2 price tag per bar!). That's why I learned how to make them even better and cheaper at home!

Sometimes I find Lara bars a little too sweet from all of the dates. Although these bars are sweetened with dates (no refined sugar!), dates are not the main ingredient. I used some of the huge bag of carrots (the same one that led to a carrot cake, carrot pancakes, carrot cake granola, and some moist carrot muffins), some spicy cinnamon, sweet plump raisins and some shredded coconut -- and they  tastes just like big slices of carrot cake. 

These bars are moist, dense, and a little bit chewy. They have no refined sugar (naturally sweetened by dates and raisins). They are full of fiber, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C and K, and potassium, thanks to the carrots.  These could also easily be made gluten free by subbing in GF flour. Are you sold yet? Oh, and they taste kind of like pumpkin pie. Now you're sold. I was surprised that this homemade version ended up tasting much better than the packaged bars. Healthy has never tasted this decadent before! These little bites are perfect for a pre/post workout snack, 3-o'clock pick-me-up, or even breakfast, as they are natural and full of nutrition.

What is your favorite Lara Bar flavor?

With love, 
Erica

Ingredients

  • 10 medjool dates, pits removed (about 5.5 ounces)
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (from about 5 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour, or gluten-free flour (I used Arrowhead Mills Sprouted Wheat Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans (optional)
Lightly spray or oil an 8×8-inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 375F.
Place the pitted dates in a food processor and pulse until the dates are chopped and begin to form a paste (or pound them with a rolling pin if you are like me, and don't have a food processor). Scrape them into a bowl and add all ingredients EXCEPT flour, baking powder, and pecans. Stir until all ingredients are well-blended.
Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just blended. Spoon it into the prepared pan, sprinkle with pecans if desired, and press them lightly into the batter with the back of a spoon. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into 12 bars and serving.
Nutrition (per serving, including walnuts): 128 calories, 9 calories from fat, 1.1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 57.2mg sodium, 309.7mg potassium, 30.3g carbohydrates, 3.6g fiber, 18.5g sugar, 2g protein, 3.9 points.

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

7 comments:

  1. Yum!! How do you like the sprouted wheat flour? Is the taste very different from normal whole wheat flours? Much healthier! :)

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    1. I love sprouted wheat flour! It reduces phytic acid an antinutrient that binds important minerals like zinc preventing their full absorption, and 2) it fundamentally changes the nature of the carbohydrates present in grain converting them into vegetable sugars rather than difficult-to-digest starches.
      The taste is not noticeable, especially in a recipe like this!

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  2. Wow! These bars look so moist, delicious, AND healthy! I love making store-bought essentials at home- it saves cost and tastes so much better. This recipe is next on my list of granola bars to try out. I'm so glad that you stumbled upon my blog the other day; we have so much in common! We're both teen bloggers with a knack for dessert, health nuts, and global travelers!

    Maral

    http://letslivelavida.blogspot.com/

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  3. oh wow, another fantastic, delicious & beautiful recipe by you! i have never tried a lara bar but have always been curious about them. i really want to try your recipe - i'm sure it's better than the original!
    xo
    http://allykayler.blogspot.ca/

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    1. Thank you so much! You should definitely try it out!

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  4. Love Lara bars, and love your recipe! This recipe would be a perfect treat to travel with:-) My favorite Lara bar is the lemon one, so delicious! Take care, Terra

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    1. Yes! I love the lemon one too! I have a bunch of medjool dates in the fridge, maybe I'll attempt making a lemon one soon! Thanks for the inspiration!

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