Deciding to go grain-free was one of the best decisions we made as a family last year, especially after learning that babies’ tummies aren’t even ready to digest grains until at least the age of two! While it’s been very rewarding for me (I haven’t experienced any type of eczema or skin rash since, weigh less than before pregnancy and feel super energized!), it’s been a challenge to find snacks that are ready to go throughout the day.
A few weeks ago, I sampled an array of Lara Bars (from Lemon Cookie and Cherry Pie to Cashew Cookie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough) and my mouth was in heaven, especially since we’ve also decided to cut refined-sugars (dried fruit now tastes sweeter than ever!). While I fell in LOVE with these bars and the fact they are gluten-free, non-GMO and kosher, I could NOT justify the $1.50 – $2 pricing for individual 1.6oz bars. I had to find a way to actually MAKE these myself…
I googled “homemade Lara Bars” and stumbled upon a handful of blogs that featured great recipes. After adding some ingredients, modifying others and then trying out different recipes of my own, I think I have perfected this Macadamia Nut* Chocolate Chip bar for my family and me (my husband and baby devour them!).
So…if you have about 20 minutes (after gathering your ingredients and materials) and want to make 6-8 bars, 20 squares or bite-sized balls, give this recipe a try and let me know what you think!
What You Need:
Ingredients (listed below)
Food processor or blender
Medium to large size bowl
Rolling pin (if desired…I’ve always used my hands instead)
Butter knife (or any knife, pizza roller or tool to slice)
Parchment paper, a gallon sized Ziplock plastic bag OR a plastic wrap (to roll and form bars on)
Airtight storage containers OR snack-sized Ziplock plastic bags (to store bars)
2/3 C Macadamia Nuts
1/2 C Finely Shredded Coconut (I use Let’s Do Organic)
1/2 C Dates (pitted or paste)
1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt
6 Tbsp Chocolate Chips (I use dark chocolate Enjoy Life
or SunSpire Organic chips)
1. Chop macadamia nuts in a food processor or blender (pulse until fairly small but not into flour or nut butter) and set aside in a small bowl.
2. If using fresh dates, blend them in a food processor or blender until like a paste (add a tsp or two of water if needed).
3. Place paste in the medium or large bowl along with the salt, shredded coconut and mix together with your hands for a few minutes.
4. Add in your chopped macadamia nuts and mix for another minute or so.
5. Then add your chocolate chips and mix with your hands so that they are evenly distributed throughout the dough (you may want to rinse your hands in cold water before mixing the chips to prevent them from melting).
6. Form the dough into a ball and roll out (with a rolling pin or press with the palm of your hands) so that it is about 1/2 an inch thick.
7. Using your knife, cut into bars and form them using your hands to make them into your ideal sized snack. OR…roll them into little balls if you’d rather pop them into your mouth throughout the day!
8. Place in your storage container of choice and put them in the fridge to set for 20 minutes or as long as you can wait 🙂
9. Enjoy them as a mid-morning snack or dessert at the end of your day!
*Why mac nut??? Well, my mom’s side of the family is from Hawaii so we grew up on mac nuts and I’ve been raising baby K on mac nuts (she can’t get enough spoonfuls of mac nut butter and even received a large jar of mac nut butter from her cousins!). So really, that’s why! But not to worry, more homemade Lara Bar recipes to come!
**Santa Monica Mama is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.