Enzyme-Rich Homemade Larabars

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Enzyme-Rich Homemade Larabars | I've long wanted make a homemade Larabar, but I really got inspired this week when reading about foods that are excellent sources of digestive enzymes. The key ingredients in Larabars -- dates and nuts -- are two of those foods. I use soaked and dehydrated nuts in these homemade Larabars, making them a digestive enzyme-rich food! | GNOWFGLINS.com

I’ve long wanted make a homemade Larabar, but I really got inspired this week when reading about foods that are excellent sources of digestive enzymes. The key ingredients in Larabars — dates and nuts — are two of those foods. However, dry nuts are rich with enzymes only if soaked and then dehydrated at a low temperature, also called crispy nuts in Sally Fallon Morell’s Nourishing Traditions.

Now I don’t have a Larabar wrapper handy and I’ve searched their website, and I can’t find out if the nuts in the Larabars have been soaked or not. If not, then my homemade bars are much better (and probably cheaper, too), because I do use soaked and dehydrated nuts. The nuts in my Larabars are rich with digestive enzymes, rather than rich with enzyme inhibitors. (Read this post for the why and how of soaking and dehydrating your nuts.)

Enzyme-Rich Homemade Larabars | I've long wanted make a homemade Larabar, but I really got inspired this week when reading about foods that are excellent sources of digestive enzymes. The key ingredients in Larabars -- dates and nuts -- are two of those foods. I use soaked and dehydrated nuts in these homemade Larabars, making them a digestive enzyme-rich food! | GNOWFGLINS.com

Enzyme-Rich Homemade Larabars

Choose organic ingredients whenever possible. Choose unsulphured dried fruits that were dehydrated at low temperatures (115 degrees Fahrenheit or less). Choose raw nuts for making your crispy nuts. If you use figs for the “other” dried fruit, you’ll have chosen another enzyme-rich dried fruit! This recipe makes a chocolate bar, but the cocoa powder can be omitted in favor of other flavors.

I’m thankful for the template recipe at Enlightened Cooking, on which my recipe is based.

Process dates, dried fruit, cocoa powder and sea salt in food processor until all chopped up. It will be like a thick paste, and perhaps even roll up into a ball. Remove from food processor to a bowl.

Put nuts (and seeds or coconut, if using) in the food processor. Process until a coarse meal.

Break up the fruit paste into chunks and add back to the food processor. Add chocolate shavings or mini chips (if using). Process to incorporate all ingredients. It may roll up into a ball. Press with your finger – does it hold together? If not, add additional water, tablespoon by tablespoon to achieve this.

Press the dough into a stainless steel 8-inch square cake pan. Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes until hardened sufficiently for easy cutting.

Bring out of refrigerator and cut into bars. I do 18 bars — 6 rows of 3 bars each. Each bar is 1 inch by 2 inches.

Store the pan of bars in the refrigerator, covered tightly so they don’t dry out. Or wrap each bar individually and store in the refrigerator for an easy grab and go snack!

Enjoy! What are your favorite Larabar flavors?

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  1. says

    i’ve been wanting to make something like this for a while, yum! i’m pretty sure that the Lara bars are not made w/soaked and dehydrated nuts because when i buy foods that ARE made that way the packaging usually says so, as in the case of > Lydias Organics grain free and raw “granola” or > Better Than Roasted’s nut butters.
    also lara brand isnt organic. all the better reason to make your own!
    .-= emily´s last blog post… Real Food at the Grocery Store: hand-rolled butter, sheep’s milk yogurt, real kraut and kimchi =-.

  2. Angela Ridinger-Dotterman says

    Thanks for this recipe, Wardee! Larabars are one of my favorites, but they can get expensive and our grocery store doesn’t stock them reliably. This will also be useful beginning for me to try some flavor experimentation.

  3. says

    Emily – I think you’re right that Lara’s nuts aren’t soaked – and you’re also right that the ingredients aren’t organic, so this is definitely a score on all counts. :)

    Angela – I agree! We sometimes grab them when we’re out and buying 5 of them – one for each of us – really adds up!

    Deb – I hope your friend can make good use of this! It is fun to try variations, too.

    Everyone – I forgot to add how to package these, so I’ll go back and edit the recipe. The bars can be kept, covered, in the same pan in the refrigerator. Or you can wrap them up individually so they’re ready to grab and go (that’s what we’ve been doing).

  4. says

    I have never had a Larabar but the picture of what you made looks very good. Like a brownie- which I have had plenty of. :-)
    What kind of dates do you use? I haven’t eaten many dates and Azure has 4 or 5 varieties.
    .-= Millie´s last blog post… Persimmon Bounty =-.

    • says

      Millie – I’ve had honey, medjool, and halawi dates. I almost tried barhi once. They (Hummingbird Wholesale) said those dates are sweet and soft. My favorite dates are medjool, but they are most expensive usually. I also love the halawi dates.

  5. says

    Wardee, your bars look really good! I’m like Millie and have never had a Larabar. I must live a sheltered life, lol because I’ve never heard of them and I didn’t know there were different kinds of dates either. Your blog is also the first time I heard of herbamare! LOL! I mentioned we eat simply… ;) These bars look seriously good because I love nuts.

    • says

      Jessie – Definitely freeze them to extend their life. Otherwise, I’d say about a week in the fridge at a minimum – perhaps could go two weeks.

  6. Jessie says

    Hi Wardee!

    Sorry to bother you again with another question – but to almonds really have enzymes anymore? Nearly all almonds sold in the US are pastuerized & are still labeled as “raw”. The only true “raw” almonds you can buy are sold directly by farms.

    Organic Pastures has almond trees & they can sell really raw almonds, but they are (at the best price) – $10 per pound – pretty pricey. I am hoping to get a group of folks together sometime to buy a big order so we can get the best price – but I don’t imagine I’ll be buying these very often. (Right now I’m buying almonds from TJs & then soaking & dehydrating, but I’m not sure how much this does or even if it’s worth it.)

    Hope you are having a great Sunday!

    • says

      Hi, Jessie! You’re right that retail almonds are pasteurized. If organic, it is done with a H20 (steam) pasteurization.

      In any case, you can buy directly from a farm to circumvent this. I can buy (truly raw) almonds through a natural food warehouse for $7 per pound. They are in Eugene. Where are you located?

      I don’t know of other sources, but I’d think some googling might net you a source for less than $10 per pound.

  7. Cheryl says

    A bit late….. but Robyn at greensmoothiegirl.com does a bulk group buy every November for truly raw almonds for $3 per pound in 100 lb boxes, or $4 per pound in 50 lb boxes, along with other raw items. A great way to stock up for the year, or “go-in” with others if you want a smaller quantity. Hope this helps you for next year!

  8. Goldnrod says

    These look yummy!

    Is there a way to make them w/out a food processor? I don’t think my blender could handle that thick of a dough.

    • says

      Goldnrod – I don’t think so, but I could be wrong. You have to be able to blend the fruits into a thick paste, and grind the nuts into a coarse meal. Here’s what you could try: The nuts part could be done in a coffee grinder. For the fruit, perhaps alot of pounding and smashing would do it? Then after that, you can use your fingers to mash it all together.

  9. Jessie says

    The greensmoothiegirl says that today is the last day to order the almonds – so maybe I’ll get some folks together for an order!

    The price is $4 per pound for 50 pounds minimum. $1.25 per pound shipping – this goes down with larger quanitites.

    • says

      That’s wonderful, Sara Kay! I think they’re better, too – I find them more soft and moist than the Larabars. The kids gave me permission to stop buying Larabars entirely now! How’s your soaking-everything-in-sight coming along? ;)

  10. Jessie says

    Wardee – I did make the cut-off on the almonds, but you know what – I think I was confused about when the last day was – because they were still available the next day. I think they are trying to get more orders in for some reason. I also realized their price was $5 per pound, but is now down to $4. (And if you order in increments 100+ pounds the shipping goes down.)

    I did end up having to order a few more pounds than I wanted personally – but I can either freeze them or else I can possibly sell them to friends.

    I’m not sure exactly when the almonds will come, but you can bet I’ll be making this recipe when they come in!

  11. Sara Kay says

    Wardee-lol! Good! My husband and I tolerated soaked oats just fine! First time I ever remember eating those without being sick! Still trying to get used to all the smells associated with this way of cooking though. My pregnant nose is a bit sensitive.:)

  12. says

    These look exceptional! I would probably think that the store bought ones are not soaked and dehydrated. I would think it would say so on the wrapper and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t.

    So Bravo! I will definitely give these a go! Maybe something my son will eat. He is so finicky these days!
    .-= Sarah Schatz – menus for limited diets´s last blog post… Why a weekly menu planner makes a great holiday gift for someone on a limited diet =-.

  13. says

    This is almost exactly how I have been making Larabars since I first tried them. They are very expensive where I am and being too cheep to pay for them with my whole crew I began to experiment as well! I have never put in the chocolate so I will be trying that next!

    Thanks and blessings!
    .-= Robin´s last blog post… ‘Tis the Season…To Be Thankful =-.

  14. LaNea says

    I made these the other night. My mixture was pretty thick. I added some almond butter to it. They are a little on the salty side because the almond butter has salt in it. I thought how are the we going to eat this? The answer- graham crackers! My kids absolutely love them.
    I am going to try to make homemade crackers. The store bought are almost gone. Great Bars!

  15. jamnee says

    Wow! These are great. I had my mother-in-law help me make these last night, and I am pretty sure when I get home today that the rest of my pan will be gone :) I am really excited to try these on my long bike rides….I think they are going to be amazing!!

  16. Patricia. says

    We started making something similar this past Christmas. I looked up recipes for sugarplums (as in visions of sugarplums dancing in heads) and found they were mostly dried fruit and nuts made into a paste and rolled into balls with added spices. The method and basic recipe were almost the same (except I didn’t know to soak the nuts yet) only without the chocolate and with spices like cinnamon, cloves, etc. Also, I think ours had a small amount of honey. Some recipes said to roll in sugar so we just skipped that. They were delicious. I look forward to trying this recipe. Thanks!

  17. says

    Thanks for this recipe Wardee! I made them today with dates, crispy almonds, crispy sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, cocoa, and chopped chocolate and they taste amazing :-) I love that it’s sweet and good for you. It fixes my sweets craving yet satisfies me so I’m not going back for more. We still have a lot of cereal in the house as my hubby is about addicted to it. Would these be a good on-the-go breakfast bar?

  18. Pam Groom says

    YUM. I like these better than Larabars! I made a dates, almonds, cherries, shredded coconut and cocoa version and a dates, apricots, apples, coconut, cinnamon version!

  19. Carol says

    OUTSTANDING! I’ve also used the Larabar recipe by Eating Well, which is very good. Your version makes a larger batch and uses cacao, so I wanted to give yours a try. I used very soft Medjool dates, 3/4 C prunes, 1/4 C dried cherries, 1/2 C almonds, 1/2 C cashews, 1/3 C walnuts, 1/3 C cacao nibs, and 4 Tbsp of my favorite addition to almost anything….. Artisana Coconut Butter. The finished product is excellent, and hopefully, I can control my urge to consume the entire tray in a single day! LOL. Thank you! ~ Carol

  20. Karen says


    The dates that I have are rather tough. Could I heat them in a cup of water before trying to use the food processor to process them?


    • says

      Karen — Just put them in a bowl and cover with warm water and give them half hour to an hour to soften up. You can let them soak longer if they’re really stubborn. :)


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