One of my recent snacking discoveries has been the Larabar, a healthier alternative to all those snack bars on the store shelves. The Larabar has the tagline of being “the original fruit and nut bar” and is made with minimal ingredients. If you read their ingredient labels you’ll find that to be quite true as most of them are only made with fruits and nuts and include no sugar at all.
But you might wonder . . . are they tasty? I suppose I can’t speak for everyone on that, but I very much enjoy them and find them to be a new yummy alternative that I keep in my purse for a mid-morning snack at my desk or for a quick snack on the go.
One of my favorite flavors is the Chocolate Coconut Chew. If you take a quick look at the ingredient list on that wrapper you’ll find it says, “Dates, Almonds, Walnuts, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened Coconut.” Indeed, a minimal list of healthy and recognizable ingredients.
And of course whenever I see a list of very familiar ingredients like that I start thinking, hey, maybe I can just make my own!
So I began fiddling around and now have my own homemade Larabar recipe that I like to make too. I did find, however, that when my homemade mixture was soft enough for me to find enjoyable, it was too soft to stay molded into bars. So I was not able to solve the mystery of how they’re doing that part of the process. My super-duper clever solution was to just not make them into bars! Instead I just roll mine into balls that I call my Homemade Larabar Bites because they are indeed a perfect little bite-sized version.
How To Make Homemade Larabar Bites
To make this copycat version of the Chocolate Coconut Chew Larabar, we’ll begin with dates and nuts. I always use the larger Medjool dates that already have the pits removed (very helpful!). I buy them in a 12 oz package and use half of the package for this recipe. Sometimes the dates are very large, and other times they are a bit smaller so it’s hard to say exactly how many dates to use. I find that half of a 12 oz package of dates also equals about a cup of dates (that are slightly packed down into the measuring cup). For my most recent batch, I used 10 medjool dates. I also soak the dates in warm water for about 15 minutes before using them in the recipe to soften them up for using in the food processor.
I use ¾ of a cup of nuts in the recipe too and do a mixture of almonds and walnuts. I try to use about half of each type but don’t worry about being too exact on the ratio of almonds to walnuts. As long as I end up with ¾ cup, using some of both, I call it good.
To get everything mixed together you’ll need a food processor. I put the nuts in first and process them until they are coarse crumbs. Next I add in the dates and process some more until things start coming together. Then I add in the cocoa powder and process some more, and then finally pulse in the coconut. The mixture is now ready to go!
I then transfer the mixture into a small bowl, and begin rolling them into balls. If at this point you find things aren’t holding together, you can always add a tablespoon or two of water to make the mixture more moist. I make my balls about 1″ in size, and usually get about 20 balls per batch.
Create Your Own Too!
So far I have only made my copycat version of the Chocolate Coconut Chew flavor, but there are lots and lots of other Larabar flavors too. The nice thing about this homemade method is that you can use it as a base and begin branching out from there for other homemade flavor options. I’m hoping to try some versions next with dried cherries or blueberries as part of the mix. You can also try using just almonds, or just walnuts, or maybe some other type of nut such as cashews.
If you have a favorite flavor of Larabar, you might be able to look at the ingredient list too and come up with a resourceful way to make your own. And perhaps this recipe will be the starting point to help you do just that. 🙂
Homemade Larabar Bites
- 1 cup (packed) Medjool Dates
- 3/4 cup Mix of Almonds and Walnuts
- 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
- Begin by soaking the dates in warm water for about 15 minutes to soften them for processing in the food processor.
- Put the nuts into your food processor first and process them until they are coarse crumbs.
- Discard the soaking water from the dates, and then add the dates to the food processor and mix together with the nuts until the mixture starts coming together.
- Next add the cocoa powder to the food processor and mix until combined.
- Finally, add in the coconut flakes and pulse until incorporated into the mixture.
- Remove the mixture from the food processor and place into a small bowl.
- Roll the mixture into 1" balls. If the mixture is not holding together, you can add a tablespoon or two of water to moisten the mixture.
- Store in a covered container.