Homemade Larabar Recipes

DIY Lara Bars

Or “Laraballs” as the case may be. In case you’ve never seen them, Larabars are raw snack bars made with dried fruit and nuts. It’s a pretty simple formula that results in an amazingly tasty snack. And unlike many snack bars, they aren’t full of weird ingredients. In fact, most Larabar packages will list only two ingredients on the package: dates and nuts.

Last year I came into possession of a box of dates that I didn’t know what to do with. I’m not a huge fan of dates on their own – I find them too sweet – but since it was Christmas time, I thought I’d turn them into by making homemade Larabars (aka “Monibars” or “Moniballz” depending on the form facator). With a food processor, these things are a cinch – and they’re tasty!

Making MONiBARZ

If you Google ‘homemade Larabars’, you’ll find loads of recipes and limitless flavour combinations, but these are the ones that worked the best for me (my personal favourites are Banana Bread and Cocoa Mole):

Cashew Cookie

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup dates
  • pinch of sea salt (optional)

Ginger Snap

  • 8 oz. dates, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp cloves
  • 4 1/2 oz. almonds
  • 3 1/4 oz. pecans

Banana Bread

  • 1/4 cup dates
  • 1/4 cup dried banana (Trader Joe’s sells these as “Nothing But Banana, Flattened”, or you can follow Oh She Glows‘ method for drying your own)
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds

Cocoa Mole

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/16 tsp cayenne pepper

Cherry Pie

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries

The method for making any of these is the same:

  1. Pulse the nuts in a food processor until they’re crumbled into small bits, but not completely ground into a powder.
  2. Remove the nuts and put the dried fruit and any spices into the food processor. Pulse a few times so that the dried fruit forms a sticky goop.
  3. Put the nuts back into the food processor and pulse until everything comes together.
  4. Shape into balls or squares using your hands or a square container as a mold (see below).
Tips:
  • If your food processor isn’t doing a good job of goop-ifying the dates, try a blender on low speed.
  • If in step 3 the mixture doesn’t seem to come together, turn off the food processor and use your hands. Squeeze the mixture and see if it comes together that way. If not, you might need to add another date or two to the mix.
  • Try to get good, soft dates. The dates from Medjool.co.uk worked well, as did these Natural Delights Dates. Both were sticky and squishy to touch. I’ve used other dates that were almost smooth and hard on the outside – these didn’t work so well in the food processor and I had to use the Vitamix to goopify-them.
  • It helps to wet your hands before shaping the bars / balls.
  • All those people who take pictures of their Larabars (or other bars) artfully stacked and tied together with cute little ribbons must not live in the real world. Wrap them up individually in cling film or wax paper so that they’re practical and easy to transport.
  • The bars are easiest to shape by using a container lined with cling flim. Push the fruit-nut mush into the container, then remove and slice into whatever size you like:

Making MONiBARZ

Making MONiBARZ

I prefer “bars” to “balls”, but my mom likes the balls because they’re bite-sized (I won’t read further into that).

The nice thing about these DIY Larabars is that they keep for ages so they’re handy to stash in the car or backpack as an “emergency snack”. They’d also make perfect high-energy portable treat to take on long hikes or bike rides: a good excuse to go trekking if you ask me.

Thanks to these helpful sources: Tastebook, Oh She Glows, So I Married a Chef, edible sound bites, This Chick Cooks

8 thoughts on “Homemade Larabar Recipes

  1. Jes

    I’ve been way too lazy to make a batch of larabar/balls, which is sad since I love munching on them so much, but, dang, they are easy to make. What have I been doing all this time? To the store, to get dates!

    (p.s., love Mardi’s comment on the ribbons–ha, so true, maybe if you’d done ribbons you should have put a little white glass of milk in the background with a striped paper straw ;) )

    Reply
  2. Rose

    I had *no* idea these were that easy to make. Once again, you have single-handedly revolutionized my breakfast. :-) (The last time was with your Breakfast Club post.

    I still love eggs for breakfast but these days, I am commuting quite a bit, and I need a handy on-the-go breakfast. I started buying nut-and-fruit bars and never even thought I could do them myself (I am still in the early stages of making my way through my own remedial cooking program, ha.)

    In any case, I just made a batch and I am ready for breakfast for the week. Thanks again for the post!

    Reply
  3. Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    Sometimes reading a post like this makes me feel good about the lack of styling on my food photos. Ribbons, stripy straws, milk bottles etc. Seems like as soon as you use them, much like in fashion, they are passé.
    Larabars sound like the way forward though given my love of dates. If they keep well then that is an added incentive for me to make a batch plus I have so many bags of nuts to use up :)

    Reply
    1. Monica Post author

      I’m not totally immune – Here is some ribbon. But in my defense, those moniballz were a Christmas present so ribbons are acceptable. But not a straw or mason jar in sight.

      I’m not sure how long the monibars keep but probably a REALLY long time given they’re made of dates and nuts and both of those ingredients last for ages.

      Reply

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