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I come across two different recipe for homemade Larabars last week and immediately went ahead and pinned them to my “Tastes and Treats” board so I’d have them for later. homemade lara bar inspirations

The Inspiration

The first recipe was from a site called Beard and Bonnet, for “Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Raw Bars (Gluten-Free & Vegan).” They looked lovely and with five ingredients, totally do-able.

The second was for “Mix-Up Energy Bars” from Cakes and Ale. They looked hearty and easily customizable. Sounds good to me!

Saturday I was feeling ambitious and decided to give them a try. Since both the recipes called for similar ingredients, I decided to make half the amount in order to sample and compare.

The Mistake

Your standard Larabar is essentially made up of dates and cashew plus various mix-ins. Here is where my attempt took a turn for the worst…trader joe's mixed nuts and prunes

Last time I bought Medjool dates I spent $5 on a container only to have to throw most away since I didn’t eat them in time. Therefore I thought to myself…why not just buy these pitted prunes? They are similar and will keep longer, right?…… WRONG.

Trader joe's non sorbate pitted prunes

While yes, prunes and dates are similar, I quickly learned that they are not interchangeable in a recipe such as this. The moist dates serve as a binding ingredient to hold the crushed nuts together. Using dried prunes therefore was not a smart idea.

Regardless I carried on, realizing that this was not going to end well.

The Recipes

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Raw Bars

(as adapted from Beard and Bonnet)

1/2 cup dried prunes

1/4 cup Trader Joe’s honey slivered almonds

1/2 cup pecans

a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips

1/2 TBSP vanilla extract

Using a food processor, combine all ingredients. Transfer to container and spread to form a single layer. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

chocolate chip raw bar

While that was in the fridge I started on the second:

Mix-Up Energy Bars

(as adapted from Cakes and Ale)

1/2 cup cashews

1/2 cup TJ’s honey slivered almonds

1/2 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup prunes

1 TBSP shredded coconut

1TBSP almond butter

1/2 TBSP maple syrup

Mix together nuts, seeds and fruit in a blender. Add in coconut, syrup and nut butter and pulse together. Place in a pan and leave in the fridge for 10 minutes.

The Result

After 10 or so minutes I pulled them out to sample and was met with a dried crumbly mess. I at least managed to make them presentable for a picture:homemade larabars raw and gluten free made with nuts and dates

The Mix-Up Energy bars (on the left) crumbled to pieces with the slightest touch. The flavor however was AMAZING and spot on to what a traditional Larabar tastes like.

The Chocolate Chip Raw Bars (on the right) stayed together pretty well but had an overwhelming vanilla extract taste which was not pleasant.

Both would have benefited from the use of dates and not prunes to hold everything together.

The Future

I would certainly try making these again seeing as how it was easy and cost effective. However I learned an important lesson: recipes exist for a reason…they’ve worked. Sometimes altering them can yield surprisingly positive results, but this was not one of those times.

I decided that while eating these as a snack bar may not be feasible, they will make a delicious topping for yogurt. Silver lining found.

I want to know…

Have you had a Pinterest fail of your own? If so, what did you attempt to make?