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