Friday, October 26, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

So, year's ago when I was just starting my quest of healthier food I ran across a recipe for homemade larabars.  I read the ingredients list and said "forget it."  Who has dates, prunes and nuts in the refrigerator to make these things??

Then some time passed and my friend at Just Trying to Live Better braved the water and made them.  I was thrilled to read her blog post.  But yet, did I want to invest the time to soak the nuts, dry the nuts, find organic dates and prunes, etc etc.  The answer then was..."well maybe."

The answer now is a big "YES!"

Now, years later they are a staple in our house.  We said goodbye a long time ago to all protein bars and the ever loved Cascadian Farms granola bars.  Now with the homemade larabars my kids think they are getting a candy bar and my husband loves them too.  And I know that they are eating healthy fruit, soaked/crispy nuts and of course a little something extra and fun thrown in.

Here is our favorite recipe right now.  There are a million more waiting for us to try them!

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
1 1/3 c soaked/crispy peanuts (I also want to try soaked/crispy cashews and almonds)
2/3 c semi sweet chocolate chips (I also do 1/3 c carob chips + 1/3 c semi sweet chips.  You can also use milk chocolate chips.)
2 c organic pitted dates (can also do 1 c organic dates + 1 c organic prunes)
1/2 c organic peanut butter
2 tsp homemade vanilla
Reverse osmosis water, 1/2 tsp at a time

Place peanuts in food processor and pulse.  Blend only to the point where the peanuts are now crumbs.  Stop here.  If you keep processing the peanuts you will have peanut butter (yum, but not what we are looking for here).  Place peanut crumbs in a bowl, set aside.

Place pitted dates in your food processor.  Process until the dates form a ball.

Add chocolate chips and 1/2 of the peanut crumbs, use a spoon to break up the ball of dates, process until combined.  Stop.  Add remaining peanuts and peanut butter.  Process until well blended.  You may have to stop and use your spoon to break up the large ball in your processor.  Add vanilla.

You want a consistency that will maintain a "bar" shape.  If your mix looks too dry and crumbly add 1/2 tsp of water at a time, processing in between until your mixture looks slightly moist and most of the ingredients are holding together.

Grease a 9x9 in glass pyrex dish with a small amount of organic virgin coconut oil.

Press bar mixture into the glass dish, flattening with your hand or the back of a spoon.

Let bars sit in refrigerator 4-6 hours or overnight.  Cut into bars.  Wrap in bpa free plastic wrap or unbleached parchment paper and store in a glass container in your refrigerator.  YUM!!!!!!

They make a great "grab on the go" breakfast or snack.

Notes:  I buy organic peanuts through Green Bean Delivery.  I have also bought raw peanuts at Meijer.  I buy organic dates and prunes at Green Bean Delivery, Downtown Farm Stand or Whole Foods.  Organic peanut butter at Meijer.  


*Recipe adapted from Kitchen Stewardship e-cook book.

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