Going With Option 3 – DIY LÄRABARS

If you look hard enough, you can find pretty much anything in Seoul.  Last year, on my birthday I found a bottle of Portuguese green wine.  Here’s the rub, I paid $40 for what would be a $5 bottle of wine in Portugal.  Anything remotely considered a Western specialty or gourmet food gets a hefty mark-up.  On the other hand, Korean style gourmet foods are incredibly cheap – I cook with oyster mushrooms all the time…be jealous…be very jealous.

Photo by: Shoshanah

The Buzz

During the last year or so, I started reading on the interwebs about the awesome goodness of Larabars.  I’d never heard of a Larabar.  But, there was this collective Larabar buzz that couldn’t be ignored.  People were tweeting about them.  Raw food advocates were touting them.  Foodies were loving them…but, I wasn’t seeing them in Korea.

The Options

I bet if I went to the very posh food court at the Shinsegae Department Store, they would either have Larabars or could special order them for me.  I am also confident that the mark-up would be tremendous.  A sentimental bottle of wine on your birthday is one thing, but over-paying for a gourmet energy bar is something else entirely.  Which meant I was left with three options (1) I could look for another supplier – Amazon does in fact sell Larabars.  (2) I could do nothing and just skip the whole Larabar experience, or (3) I could create my own solution with a DIY Larabar.

Health Habits to the Rescue

Douglas Robb is a personal trainer in Toronto, a force on twitter (@HealthHabits), and the author of the Health Habits Blog.  After reading his post Homemade LaraBar Recipes, option 3 was the obvious choice.  Doug saves you a lot of leg work, as he has tracked down and linked to the best Larabar recipes on the web.

My Mad Methods

I had some early success with the Eat. Run. Do Yoga. Chocolate Coconut Pie recipe.  I also messed around with the Very Cherry Bars from WellSphere.  But, it wasn’t until Roger (who writes for Son of Grok and is another must follow on twitter @RogerDeRok), suggested that I try replicating the Cinnamon Roll Larabar that I hit a real home run.

What follows is the recipe that I worked out.  Be forewarned, I am not responsible for any resulting Cinnamon Roll Larabar mania that flows from your first batch.  I’ve got my own problems with family members hoarding the available supply and threats of bodily harm if an order for a double batch is not completed this weekend.  It’s like I’m cooking meth for Gus Fring.

The Recipe


3/4 of a cup of loose dates (I use whole dates, which take up a lot of space)

1/4 of a cup of walnuts

1/4 of a cup of almonds

1/4 of a cup of cashews

1/4 of a cup of raisins

1 Tablespoon of cinnamon.

Step 1: Combine all ingredients in your food processor or blender.

Step 2: Mix / Blend / Chop, until a relatively thick ball starts to form.  Don’t go too fast.  I gradually increase the speed from low to medium. If it looks too dry to form into bars, you may need to add more dates.

Step 3: Expect greasy hands.  Chopped and mixed dates and nuts are incredibly oily.  You’ve been warned.  Scoop the mixture out of your food processor or blender and into a bowl.  Press the mixture to make it more compact.

Step 4: Break off portions from the ball and shape them into bars.

Step 5: Wrap the bars in plastic and refrigerate.

Pro tip: Prep your plastic wrap strips before your hands get greasy from forming the bars.  I hang mine from the edge of the counter, so they are ready to go when I need them.

Pro eating tip: Squeeze the bar out one end of the plastic wrap, then you can hold onto the plastic wrap as you take a bite and keep your hands perfectly clean.

Eat and Enjoy

In this case, option 3 really was the best choice, as a custom solution led to a collaborative effort, a fun kitchen experiment, and saved money.



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6 responses to “Going With Option 3 – DIY LÄRABARS

  1. I make mine with 1:1:2 – dates, mixed berries, mixed nuts. Then I add a dash of cinnamon and a handful of dark chocolate chips. Yup. Then I eat them all in one sitting. Yup. Then I get sick. Most definitely. They are sooooo amazingly good and sooooo much better than the store bought crap.

  2. I like making a version with almonds, roasted hazelnuts and cocoa powder. Kinda like a Nutella Larabar. And yeah, these homemade taste so much better than store bought!

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