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A few years ago I started buying Larabars and discovered the whole date-nut bar concept.  Buying the bars, especially five at a time, resulted in a considerable upswing of my grocery bill so I searched online to find a recipe to make my own.  I came across a bunch of “larabar knockoffs” and since then a myriad of combinations have been created in both bar and ball format.

The following recipe is for a pecan pie version that I made into bars.  These bars are easy to make (no baking necessary), taste decadent, and travel well.

Pecan Pie Date-Nut Bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of raw pecans
  • 2 1/2 cups of pitted medjool dates
  • pinch of sea salt
  • splash of vanilla

How To:

1.  In your food processor fitted with the metal S blade, add nuts and process until they are fine and crumbly.  Do not process too far or you’ll end up with nut butter.

2.  While the machine is running add the dates, two at a time, and the salt and vanilla.  The date amount is not an exact science.  You want the mixture to come together nicely and not be too crumbly in texture (i.e. gooey dough ball).  Start with two cups of dates and add until you get close to this consistency.

3.  Turn the “dough” out into a pan.  I use an 8 X 8 glass Pyrex dish, or the equivalent sized pan which is what you see in this picture.  (If you are making balls, this when you would shape them.  I choose bars most of the time because balls take longer to shape.)

4.  Refrigerate for a few hours until they firm up.  These also freeze nicely and require very little defrost time.

5.  Cut and enjoy! When I want to take these on the go, I usually store them in one of my small, portable stainless steel tiffins, but you can also wrap in plastic/parchment/wax paper or use a plastic bag.

While this combination of ingredients tastes like yummy pecan pie, have fun and dream up your favorite combo! This is a great place to get kids involved.

Getting Kids Doing! Tip:  Have a contest where each child can suggest his or her favorite combination of ingredients.  Make them and have a taste test!

You may want to try:

  • different nuts – cashews are delicious or peanuts (with dried cherries!)
  • adding dried fruit
  • adding cacao or carob powder
  • adding flax, chia seeds, goji berries, chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • layering melted chocolate on the top or melted peanut butter

Another site that has a great tutorial and many flavor options is Enlightened Cooking.

I just found this recipe for Butterscotch Bliss Balls today and will be making these next.

Cashew date bars are one of my favorites because they taste like caramel.  Chocolate Covered Katie has a recipe here, but I need to warn you…if you click be sure you have a lot of time to browse all her amazing sweet treats.

What is your favorite snack bar made of?

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