Friday, July 31, 2009

Raw Fruit and Nut Bars

Let’s face it, there are about a million kinds of health/energy/snack food bars on the market. I used to just get whatever sounded good, or was the cheapest. However, now that I’m more aware of the ingredients that go into the foods I purchase, I generally stay away from anything that has ingredients I can’t pronounce or can’t actually buy in the store individually (unless I’m just unaware of the COPPER GLUCONATE section).

That’s when I became a fan of Larabars and the new Baraka Bars. Their ingredients are simple and few. For instance, the “Cherry Pie” Larabar consists of dates, almonds, and cherries. That’s it. No preservatives, no additives – just real, live food.

So that got me thinking – if the ingredient list is so simple, how hard can it be to make on your own? Turns out – not hard at all!

I picked up my ingredients at Natural Grocers, an awesome store in Dallas near Coit and Campbell everyone should check out. Their raw bulk food selection is in cold storage for freshness, and the prices can’t be beat.

IMG_0633

Not only are their prices great (1 lb of raw walnut pieces for $4), but their items are clearly marked with nutritional information, like these raw cacao nibs…

IMG_0637

So, with that in mind, I share with you my first two Raw Fruit and Nut Bar creations – Chocolate Peanut and German Chocolate (I’m still working on some catchy names, let me know if you think of one).

German Chocolate (makes 2 bars)

  • 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tbsp raw walnuts
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
  • About 10 Halawi dates

IMG_0647

Chocolate Peanut (makes 2 bars)

  • 1 tbsp raw peanuts
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
  • About 10 Medjool dates

IMG_0649

Instructions
Mix in all ingredients in a food processor. Shape into rectangular bars (or squares, or balls, or…).

Nutritional Info
About 250 calories per bar, 100 calories from fat, 4 grams protein

My thoughts
First off, these were really quick and easy to make. I bought two kinds of dates because I wasn’t very familiar with the different varieties. The Medjool were a bit sweeter than Halawi, but they also cost about twice as much. Next time, I’ll probably use a combination of the two. The cacao nibs were fairly bitter, but it all came together quite nicely. The German Chocolate was my favorite, but the Chocolate Peanut was pretty good too.

I’d also suggest putting them in the freezer until you are ready to eat – they won’t freeze, but they’ll hold their shape better if you’re on-the-go.

IMG_0648Verdict
It probably cost about $10 for the ingredients I used and I could have easily made about 15 bars – so the price is definitely better than buying pre-made bars. It’s also easy to make up your own recipes – just use dates as the “binder” and have fun.

Your homework for the weekend?…give these recipes a try – or better yet – get your favorite ingredients and be creative! Just come back and let us know what you came up with.

-Jamey

9 comments:

Drew said...

Brilliant!

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

Ooh. I think I have to try these.

Jen said...

after paying too much for larabars, i made the decision to do this a long time ago, and glad i did. i keep mine in a freezer or they get too mushy. nice cold pick me up treat for the road and bizzay mommy that i am. good job!

Eddie G said...

Hey Jamey-

Can I just swing by your place and snag a couple of those? They look awesome!

:P

Jamey said...

Jen - yeah, I figured I wasn't a pioneer at this, but I was so amazed at how easy it was I figured others might like to know too :)

Eddie G - you could...if there were any left! Next time I'm going to make a big batch of them so I can have plenty on hand. I've already started thinking about new flavors...

dessertobsessed said...

these look great! i definitely want to try these!

Amber Shea said...

Jamey,

Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog (I responded to it on there) not only because it means you read my blog, but also because you led me to yours! I'm already excited to gather up destinations for my next trip to Dallas...

Amber

renglish said...

Thanks for this post! I'm experimenting right now with making my own raw fruit and nut bars. I just made some with walnuts, dates, honey, and a tiny dash of orange juice and melted butter.

I used an ice cube tray to shape them actually and am freezing them now. We'll see how they turn out!

BTW, does anyone know of a good website, or store in the ny city area, for getting bulk, cheap nuts and dried fruit?

Jamey said...

that's a great idea about the ice tray - good for making little bite-sized treats.

Not sure about places in NY, but the place I got my stuff from, Natural Grocers, has online sales as well - their products were pretty good and competitively priced, although I don't know how well some of that stuff ships. Good luck!